Should I Stay or Should I Go?June 10, 2021
Blending functionalities, reducing floorspace, a move… and all of this while respecting the Dutch Library Law. Difficult? Yes, but not impossible. The real question is whether this is truly the best option. To find the answer, we conducted a study that led to a slight change of plans.
In Veldhoven, a high-tech industrial hotspot near Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands, the city council is investigating the possibility of the library moving. This maneuver would cause the floor space to decrease some 40% whereas it will simultaneously improve the downtown visibility of the library. On top of that, ambitions are set to blend the library functionality with other local council features, such as a city information center. An important side note to the process as such is that, whatever happens, regulations of the Dutch Library Law need to be met.
So, it boils down to the question: Will it all work? Will it work out in such a way that official regulations are met and goals are achieved? And, if so, what is the best possible configuration of the reduced library? Our feasibility study provided the answer.
Dissecting for a new direction
First, we structured and mapped the current situation of the library into practical building blocks. These were projected onto the new situation. We then used our special lenses to assess the result.
To make sure the best third place configuration is found, we have developed a set of lenses to take a closer look at the alternatives. We view things from as many perspectives as possible, based on the theories of great thinkers such as William H. Whyte (urbanist, sociologist, organizational analyst, journalist and people-watcher), Paco Underhill (environmental psychologist), Kevin Lynch (urban planner), Ray Oldenburg (sociologist), B. Joe Pine II (the author who coined the ‘experience economy’) and many others. Together, they combine layers of insight into the physical aspects of successful third places. Categorized by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we can define and add hierarchy to the psychological importance of the physical aspects of social places.
Based upon these insights, we analyze, rate and evaluate the physical impact of the alternatives on the different needs for successful third places. Finally, the Dutch Library Law is taken into account regarding the physical matters that enable healthy library operation. We squint our eyes and check everything on multiple levels to get as close to a 360-degree view as possible.
To make sure the best third place configuration is found, we have developed a set of lenses to take a closer look at the alternatives.
Thank you, next
The result of the extensive study was that it became clear that the new configuration was not the ideal situation. The city council renounced the proposed move and has started looking for alternative sites – which the study also delivered. Our research unlocked the potential of far wider cooperation for the library: with a bit of extra effort, the library can connect to the local theater next door, a little museum and an exhibition space in the city hall. To showcase the potential, a short video was created to explain the potential hidden under the surface of the Veldhoven Meiveld square, just waiting to be activated.
Veldhoven Library Feasibility Study
Client: Bibliotheek Veldhoven
Team: Aat Vos, Eunice Ma, Tessa Wennink
Video: Marco Heyda, Tessa Wennink, Aat Vos, Kirstin Hanssen
Photography: Marco Heyda/includi & Bibliotheek Veldhoven