From inside to outside: Zarasai District Municipal Public Library

Do not decide on the book by cover – this is how the story about the extension of the Zarasai District Municipality Public Library opened in 2015 was opened, which expanded its premises and was designed to give the concept of modern library space. The epithets coming to mind: simple, functional, free, breathing and … poetic. Comfortable. What’s not with the cover? The architecture of this building would not attract the attention of architectural magazines, neither in its volume, nor the structure of its interior spaces. However, the way in which the organization is located and the possibilities it offers to visitors is quite another language. The architecture of the Zarasai Library reveals the ambiguity of architectural quality. The architecture of a building can be spoken with two rather decoupled dimensions: internal and external; building as aesthetic object and building as functioning structures. This building is an example of how these two dimensions can differ in the same building. Architecture does not affect how it looks, but how it works: it provides comfortable spaces, solves visitor flows, combines different activities and opens up opportunities for sensual and emotional experiences. From these experiences, the promised sense of poetry arises.

In Zarasai, the library integrates into the attractive city center of history and innovation. The Zarasas Lake is surrounded by a circle of architects created by the architects of Šarūnas Kiaunė design studio, and an impressive neoclassicist building with the inscription LIBRARY opens. The central location and visibility are important for the mission of the library to serve the community – so the location of the library is great in this respect. 1934 a library and a museum are now in the building (former gymnasium); The library occupies the second and third floors. The main libraries of the library moved to an annex designed by architect Kęstutis Akelaitis, hiding behind the neoclassical building. It will take you to the side of the old building at K. Būgos Street.

The architecture of the exterior of the building is not impressive: the volume of the cubes drawn out: painted in two shades of yellow and the first floor covered with clinker tiles. Around the floor, a couple of steps to the building and ramps based on gray pads (why access to the library is not immediately equipped to be accessible to everyone?). With the old building, the annex is “coupled” by the passage on the second floor. Trying to combine the new annex with the old building in color but not in architectural language, the connection seems to be mechanical. The façade of the building emphasizes glass – the yellowish walls are separated by the glass windows of dark brown glass. Glass walls and their functioning differ from those of the Utena A. and M. Miškiniai libraries, where you go straight from the street to the library, and bookshelves and people open up. The glass of the building of Zarasai Library is dark brown from the outside, so you cannot see what is inside the library. However, as planned or not, this makes it possible to establish a different connection with the urban environment – darkened windows of the library reflect the nearby wooden architecture of the Blessed Virgin. The towers of the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The public spaces surrounding the libraries are home to outdoor reading rooms and events. The reader can go out to read the book. Although this possibility is limited in Zarasai, successful library activities go beyond the boundaries of the building and travel to the lakeside, sculpture park, where the events of the library take place.