South of the Drava River in Maribor, there is a settlement that is a patchwork of various urban fabrics, a result of the rapid growth of the city after World War II. One of the centers of this area is formed by the interweaving of educational institutions gathered around the Youth Park at Tabor. The schools here reflect the city’s structure in which they are located: it’s a patchwork of diverse units that reflect the rapid growth of the city’s needs on one side and its institutions on the other. The fundamental idea of the library is to design a space that generates scientific and research work within the northern, southern, and eastern wings while supporting the social life of the faculty’s users in a way that creates a living environment – a faculty living room. The typology of the library extension is not a conventional building, but a pavilion with the structure of a large bookshelf, providing users with an entirely new spatial experience.
The concept of the wooden bookshelf shapes the entire space. The basic structural framework is derived from it, articulated with wooden shelves. This achieved a fusion of structure, natural light, and the function of the library extension. The basic framework dynamically opens up with larger windows, framing various microenvironments and views. Beech micro-laminated wood, first used in Slovenia, was employed both in the visible structure and in the remaining furniture and finishes. The impression of a “living room” was further enhanced by selecting different types of seating – more formal, such as classic office chairs, dynamic “stand-up” seats in the central ground floor area, and informal options that allow for various sitting positions, such as comfortable recliners and cushions – “stones” in the recessed area. The book depot with shelves is located within the existing eastern wing of the faculty, where arranging the bookshelves helped create smaller reading environments.
The structure is made of white concrete casted out of visible panels. The facade is manipulated with composition of prefabricated white terrazzo planes and U-profile glass. Entrances and interior elements are made of solid oak wood. The openings field with U-profiled glass with a sandblasted glass inside, the light is completely scattered and as a result diffusely dispersed, no clear outlines occur. Indirect natural light concept, suspended ceiling and soft materials give homogenous space basilicas character.
Architecture of the building responds to the local climate and weather conditions as well as building tradition, characterized by white limestone, oak wood and Istrian sandstone. Ambivalence of outer and inner space is not an abstract concept but a device with the function for diverse condition.