Submission: May 4, 2014
Registration: May 4, 2014
Location: New England, USA
Prizes: 1st Prize $ 1.000 2nd Prize $ 500 3rd Prize $ 250
Type: Open competition for architects living or working in New England
Architecture competition to design an architectural intervention that reinforces and expands the relevance of the public library in any New England community. Designs may take the form of additions, renovations, or satellite structures. Interventions can be a maximum of 2,000 SF, but changes to finishes and furniture, or temporary elements, may extend beyond this limit. A clear distinction should be made between the existing context and the proposed intervention.
Contrary to popular belief, public libraries are not a declining institution. Over the past 12 years (a period that saw both a dramatic expansion of the Internet and shrinking of government funding) annual visits, program attendance, and total revenue for Vermont public libraries have increased by over 50%. The question is not how to make libraries relevant again; rather, it is how to reinforce the relevance of libraries for the future.
The Internet has fundamentally changed the way information is consumed, but it is not the sole conduit by which we learn. While time-sensitive and data-driven information is arguably better consumed digitally, in-depth and community-based learning is still best found in libraries. Should public libraries continue to adopt the latest technology and formats that are constantly changing? Libraries fulfill distinct and vital needs. Libraries need not compete with or replicate the Internet; rather, libraries must clarify their own function and identity.