Dr. Robert Claus Jopp
Dr. Rolf Furhlott
The building where the Central University Library is to be housed was built in the beginning of the century (around 1910) by an unknown architect to serve the needs of the Bank of Athens in Volos. It had a fairly “neoclassical” style with some eclecticistic elements and a stone frame wall on four floors with a wooden roof at the top. In 1954, after a strong earthquake, the building was partly 'demolished and, after some frame’s restoration, only the first floor now remains. Today, only a few elements remain to remind us the glamor of the past, although it is still one of the few and fragmented historical buildings of the city of Volos where the architectural heritage is expressed through the building environment. According to the general consideration of the architectural approach to the building, we propose the following:
The solution of the total imitation of the shape and form of the first stage of the building seemed to us rather exaggerated and unrealizable for the following two reasons:
The existing building is linear, with a length of 6B,85m and a width of 12,30m, and it covers the whole block. The total surface area of the building is l.b0Om2 divided up in two levels. The plan is symmetrical and it has three discernible parts, one in the centre and one on each side.
The project keeps only the outer perimetrical stone frame of the two ends of the existing building together with their foundation. It recreates the interior, keeping the basic outlines of the initial arrangement and it adds three more floors with a to— tal height of 24,40m and a total surface area of 4.0OOm2. The last floor is considerably smaller than the others. Also there is a basement floor in the central part of the building with a surface area of about 275m2. There is no possibility either to extend the surface of the basement or to go deeper because of the seawater level.
To reinforce the stone frame of the existing building and also to form the frame of the addition, we propose the construction of a new inner concrete frame of 20cm width in connection with the old stone wall.
The main entrance of the library is situated in the central part of the building on the ground floor together with the information and the check area. Also from the central part and from the check point we can reach the lending department, the lockers and a small amphitheatre. The entrance hall has double height in its greater part, while there is an inner balcony looking towards the entrance hall.
Vertical transport is served by two lifts and one staircase on both sides of the entrance hall, and with two more emergency staircases on the two edges of the building. There is also a ramp for disabled people in the central part and two lifts for the‘books’ services.
Horizontal circulation on each floor goes through an inner, linear, one level corridor which starts from the point where the lifts and the staircase are.
The entrance for the books and the staff is independent in the NW side of the building where all the operations connected with the processing of the books are arranged on four floors.
The building houses open access reading areas and book stacks closed access with compact shelves, lending department, offices for librarians and administration, carrels, seminar room and a small amphitheatre, conference room, exhibition spaces, coffee shop and auxiliary spaces. The total capacity of the Library is 130.000 volumes and 130 seats.
According to the above mentioned, the underlying philosophy of the intervention in the existing building tends to produce an architecture which on the one hand respects and conserves the historical heritage and on the other hand uses the syntactic of the modern language for the new addition in a distinguishingsimplified and abstract way.
Our intention is to give a new soul to the remains of the historical heritage and to create a diachronic public building which will be acceptable to the town population to signify jointly the past and the present and to promote the very important socio - cultural role of a University Library. To be finally a reference point for the University and the city itself.