Building this library on a military base was not only about the physical result, but also about the process: The soldiers who worked on it acquired new skills that will ease their transition back into civilian life.
The architects’ mandate was formulated in very general terms: Build a library to serve the soldiers and the community. The program included a children’s library and a small study area. Based on this, the architects conceived a building that is sustainable in every way. They paid special attention to economic aspects: The construction materials should cost as little as possible. They proposed making the walls out of rammed earth – using waste material excavated from a playground built nearby. These walls require only a small supplement of cement, they are easy to build, and they provide thermal mass. The floors are constructed from salvaged railroad ties.
Architect Milinda Pathiraja notes the questions framed by the project: “How can knowledge be transferred on the building site? How can real building projects be conceptually organized – architecturally – to act as training grounds for the development of construction labor skills?”
Read feature interview in 4th Holcim Awards 2014/2015 (flip-book)