From Concept to Commissioning: The Library - Scheduling, Programming, Phasing

Marie-Francoise Bisbrouck


Following assessment of the last two seminars organised by the LIBER Architecture Group in 2000 (in Warsaw) and 2002 (in Leipzig), it appeared that a certain number of participants from those seminars wished to have a re-run of the various organisational phases involved in operations for building, extending or restructuring libraries: the motivation being to ensure the clear definition of the associated processes, and identify the various players and their respective roles, together with the actions required at various times to ensure the harmonious implementation of the construction programme. I should therefore like to describe this process in as objective a fashion as possible, given that other speakers will later be telling you of their experiences as "library builders" - in particular Karl Krarup and Elmar Mittler. Karl's presentation, entitled "How to Survive in the World of Architects and Building Departments", and Elmar's, rather "combatively" (!) presentation, entitled "The Battle for Good Library Buildings". This will certainly leave you with an understanding of just how much of a cool head is required, not to mention clear ideas, a sharp sense of diplomacy and a generous dose of organisational and management skills, all underpinned by a long-term vision as to the likely development of libraries in today's world and tomorrow's, in order to arrive at the goal: the realisation of a fine and efficient library. The need is also there, of finding ways to communicate the vision over the long term, to all players involved, to ensure that the necessary funds remain available. Therefore I should like first to sketch - in as dispassionate terms as I can manage - how the scenario evolves, or should evolve, if we all lived - like we deserve - in a well organised world, with each party working without the slightest ulterior motive towards the design and production of our libraries. I propose to examine the situation from certain aspects, in particular: · the team formed by the library and its partners: putting the right person in the right role · financing the operation · the programme · the choice of architect · the obligatory programme phases, and the time required for each, and finally · the "additional sites" accompanying the main project.

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