At the centre of Halmstad, the seamless integration of nature and modern architecture has turned the City Library into an oasis of literary inspiration. Bjelin's hardened ash floor ESARP 3.0 XL fulfilled the aesthetic aspirations and brought about practical advantages that resonate throughout the space.
The library was first opened in 2006 based on the award-winning architecture by Mette Wienberg och Kim Holst Jensen at MAA Schmidt, Hammer & Lassen. In 2022, Fredblad Arkitekter were responsible for the renovation and floor replacement. “The choice of Bjelin’s ash floor was driven by a desire to achieve the aesthetic vision while preserving the existing floor,” said architect AnnCharlott Castler. “The floating installation proved to be a practical solution, eliminating the need for extensive removal work.”
The impact of the XL planks in the library’s vast space is aesthetically pleasing in long corridors and creates a cleaner impression in smaller areas designated for youth and learning activities. The light ash colour in such a large and airy setting adds an almost atmospheric quality, capturing and reflecting the natural light from the library’s southern panoramic windows.
The effect of hardened ash goes beyond aesthetics, making a statement about the library’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The proximity to nature outside the library, with water and greenery, further enhances the overall experience. Architectural decisions to build around the majestic ash at the library’s centre showcase a genius approach, creating an environment that promotes tranquillity and inspiration.
A library is all about literature, and the richness of the space truly encourages creativity and a love of books. The careful consideration of seating areas close to nature provides an inviting and calming place to read, distinguishing it from other libraries that might feel enclosed and mundane. And despite the abundance of books, the library has an airy and elegant ambience.
Another stunning feature in the library is the colossal glass artwork by Norwegian artist Olav Christopher Jenssen, Another Thinking Bell, which hangs in the library’s northwest ceiling. This masterpiece adds an extra dimension, leaving visitors with an awe-inspiring feeling as they gaze toward the high, grand ceiling while strolling toward the pier and the water.
In addition to aesthetics, practical considerations had to be addressed in a space frequented by numerous daily visitors. Nicholas Ymén, Project Sales at Bjelin, sheds light on the unique features of the floor: “The hardened ash, known for its durability and dent resistance, provides a robust solution capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic without showing signs of wear and tear.”
Librarians agree that Halmstad City Library is an excellent workplace, and they're delighted to come here due to the distinctive and inspiring atmosphere. The harmonious blend of natural elements and innovation captivates visitors, and the project – with its consideration of aesthetics and sustainability – sets a remarkable example for integrating architecture, the environment, and art.
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