Welcoming Design

Inspiring places for the public – an exhibition in Berlin shows projects by Dutch firm Mecanoo architecten.

“Public buildings need public space and should be welcoming to everybody.” It is this attitude – described by its founder Francine Houben – that shapes the buildings Dutch firm Mecanoo architecten designs for its public clients. What all the firm’s projects have in common is a special focus on interaction, transparency and the design of a dynamic relationship between indoors and outside that tempts visitors to linger.

One outstanding example of this attitude’s implementation is the new library at Birmingham’s Centenary Square, the city’s main public plaza. It is one of the biggest libraries in Europe. Mecanoo’s design concept aimed to create a building that would provide an appealing and inspiring atmosphere for people of all ages and backgrounds – a public building that performs its function whilst shaping its outdoor space as well. Since it opened in September 2013, the library has become an important and popular urban meeting place.

Berlin architectural gallery Aedes is presenting the latest projects by Mecanoo architecten in an exhibition entitled “A People’s Palace”. The firm’s cross-sector approach has yielded a wide-ranging portfolio. The exhibition shows large-scale public projects such as the library in Birmingham, the municipal offices and train station in the Dutch city of Delft, the Wei Wu Ying Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Boston, USA.

Mecanoo architecten
A People's Palace
The Library of Birmingham and Other Buildings for the Public
The exhibition runs until 27th November 2014
Aedes Architecture Forum, Christinenstrasse 18-19, 10119 Berlin

Source: Koelnmesse, reprint free of charge.