University library in Osijek

Architecture

In every library, both the main reading room and the multipurpose hall deserve to be tall, spatious, centrally located spaces. In the University Library in Osijek, the reading room is like a milky white jewel full of light, while the hall is like a black jewel. The jewels, mystical each in its own way, are mutually contrasting and complementary, and mysteriously hidden behind the semitransparent facade which filters sun's light from its glare.

Above ground, the Library is a rectangular solid whose facades follow and help to create the avenue, the Campus promenade, and the future square. One may say that the shape of the building is sensitive to the rectangular concept of the Campus and the orthogonality inherited from times of Antiquity.

Inside, the building is designed as a city block with two "interior courtyards", but the big hollows carved out from the building's body contain spaces with most massive uses: the multipurpose entrance hall, the big reading room and the conference hall. These spaces are dynamic, in contrast with the restrained geometry of the building as a whole. They are actually two inverse truncated pyramids, whose ambiences are also opposite:

To the south, there is the white glowing form of the big reading room, filled with light entering through the big glazed roof, which passes through the translucent glass walls of the hall to subtly profuse the rest of the building. To the north, there is the closed black shape of the conference hall, hovering above the multipurpose entrance hall.

In order to achieve sun-shading and uniform natural lighting in the series of rooms along the facades, there are tensioned strips of steel Cambridge mesh along the exterior of the facade glazing. The mesh is tensioned between the upper cornice, which surrounds the top of the building at the same height, and the lower cornice, which meanders depending on where the ground floor is supposed to be open (portico) or closed. On the eastern facade, the lower cornice rises high in order to reveal (and shed more light on) the lending counters on all storeys, as they are central points for orientation. On the other side, the western facade has a framed opening in the mesh, which marks the lounge next to the conference hall.