Through the complete modernisation of the interior and layout of the building, Mecanoo will transform the Central Library on the Spui designed by Richard Meier 25 years ago. Notable interventions will be the renovation of the entrance to the library and the café, making for a more inviting design. A new debating centre also features as part of the programme. Provisionally named “SPUI68”, it will be located on the fifth and sixth floors of the building, also utilising the existing but unused roof terrace.
Francine speaks with great pride that Mecanoo were asked to deliver this project. “I know Richard Meier and admire his architecture. As a young architect, I advised him and alderman Adri Duivesteijn to maintain the design of the Atrium for the town hall. This was under pressure due to financial problems. And now look! The Atrium is the most beautiful covered public space in The Hague.”
However beautiful Meier’s town hall and library combination may be, Francine notes a problem. “The library is not highlighted enough. The somewhat hidden entrance and the lighting make it look too much of an office. I want to do something about that, without affecting Meier's building, by the way. I want to draw more people into the building. In my plan, each floor is given a specific program. For example, the fourth becomes the domain of music. In addition to its own music collection, the library of the Royal Conservatoire is housed here. There will also be more study places, some more sheltered, others more open”.
With 2.5million EUR earmarked for the renovation, the project will be spread over several years, done on a floor by floor basis. Next year, the music department will be the first area to be tackled, due to the arrival of the conservatory library. After 2022, a new Council will make a decision on progress and resources.