Huttrop District Library

A merry melting pot in the Ruhr area

September 22, 2023

In the diverse neighborhood of Huttrop, located in the German industrial city of Essen, an unremarkable supermarket building was transformed into a super library for the entire neighborhood. An innovative place with a high amenity value, an inclusive third place for all ages.

A must-see destination

The Huttrop district library of Essen City Library is one of the locations with the largest media offerings and the highest number of loans. The library had to move because the previous building was no longer available. It found its new home in a vacant supermarket on the city limits of Essen-Steele. The new location is conveniently situated and accessible with ample parking opportunities.The first step was to make the building structurally and architecturally suitable for the new function. How do you turn one large, open space into a unique and inviting library… while staying within a limited budget?

Experience is central to this industrial but homey library landscape.

Vera Schneider Vera Schneider Interior Architect at includi

Listening to each other

We organized Design Workshops and user surveys to understand the needs of the mixed audience of Huttrop and the library team. During the Design Workshop, the theme of the library’s visual identity was determined: It should tie in with the industrial Ruhr area of Essen with its rich history, often affectionately called “Ruhrpott”. Furthermore, we gave architectural advice to strengthen the function of the third place within the building and to physically strip away the former supermarket atmosphere.

Recognition and astonishment

In Huttrop District Library, the industrial past comes to life in a modern way via a colorful interior, where both subtle and striking references to the steel and coal industries can be discovered. This creates recognition, a familiar feeling, but also wonder. Upon entering, everyone immediately feels welcome in the cozy coffee bar with the infotheque. Clever layouts create separate zones for different age groups and interests, each equipped with comfortable seating areas, from community tables to comfy cocoons. 

Experience is central to this industrial but homey library landscape. For example, young people can retreat to a treehouse or a striking, robust cabin in the youth section. Study and workstations, a seating landscape as it were, in front of the new windows strengthen the connection with the outside. This invites passersby to come and take a look inside. In short, City Library Huttrop is a must-see destination in the popular Ruhr region, where there’s always something going on.

The library should be a unique, inviting meeting place. A place that excites, inspires and offers diverse opportunities. All are welcome.

Anja Flicker Anja Flicker Head of Essen City Library

Project Credits

Client: Stadtbibliothek Essen 
Location: Huttrop, Essen, Germany 
Area: 700 m2 
Research, Strategy, Design, Art-Direction: includi (team: Vera Schneider, Aat Vos, Hélène IJsselstijn, Jasper Poortvliet, Tessa Wennink, Eunice Ma, Thijs Alberts) 
Building partners: Team Stonepark (interior builder), Planungsbüro Bause (architect building)
Photographer: Marco Heyda/includi