With the intention of the Municipality of The Hague to realize a neighborhood library in all parts of the city, a space has been found in the Benoordenhout district in The Hague to open a new neighborhood library. The new library is located in the Rontonde building of the ANWB, at Wassenaarseweg 220 on the border of The Hague and Wassenaar.
The Rotonde building is a monument which was originally designed for the ANWB company and located in the beautiful Clingendael Park. The library is not only a welcome addition to the neighborhood but also to the many visitors who have been meeting here for years.
A new library has been designed in a responsible manner, with as few adjustments to the space as possible, and related to the existing libraries in the city.
The white bookcases with the many coloured books are recognizable from our previous projects such as for Bibliotheek Nieuw Waldeck and Bibliotheek Schilderswijk, but in a slightly improved form and with more flexibility. The arrangement of the bookcases follows the contours of the building and the bookcases in the middle are not only deliberately kept low, but also fan out along the radials to maintain as much view as possible from every point in the space to the surroundings via the large windows in the facade.
The other furniture is made with subdued materials and colours such as wood, artificial leather and velvet in various shades of green. This green colour is also reflected in the Central Library and therefore gives the visitor a form of recognition.
With regard to sustainability, we first consciously looked, and also to prevent unnecessary waste, at what furniture was still present in the library’s storage that could be reused in the new library.
We even managed to purchase a number of used instead of new furniture, such as a number of white steel acoustic Ahrend storage sliding door cabinets,
which fit perfectly into the new space without having to be produced again.
Despite the limited space of this relatively small library, the design also offers space for contemporary functions that the library wants to fulfil through the use of flexible mobile bookcases. For example, by moving some bookcases on wheels, the library can offer space for groups to read or follow lectures, but also for language lessons and courses. There are more and more visitors who need help with the many questions that they do not get adequately answered elsewhere, such as completing forms for taxes or benefits.
In the central lobby, mixed between the existing ANWB retail space and catering facilities of the building, there is a very large reading table where all visitors can read the newspaper and magazines and meet each other while enjoying a cup of coffee.
For the young people, a real wooden slide has even been designed that slides down a staircase. This existing staircase is also covered with special cushions so that the staircase can be a safe, intimate place and also forms a comfortable youth podium from which you have a view of the surroundings through large windows in the facade.
In addition to space for changing art from the city illustrator, the walls also have a double door that is designed to appear as an open book where young and old can express themselves creatively on the open pages formed by illuminated chalkboard walls.
In this way, the library is not only suitable for lending books, but also meets the five social tasks (learning, reading, information, introduction to culture and meeting) that can be found more in detail on overheid.nl.
Bibliotheek Den Haag