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Cicero was suggesting a garden in the library, where he could spend his time in a natural setting, reading, writing, and conversing with his colleagues. This ancient idea can also apply to contemporary thinking about libraries and their landscapes. How do we thoughtfully place a library in the landscape? And how can we create outdoor spaces that work in concert with the library interior?
When a new public library is planned, it is not only the design that must be considered. The placement of the building in its setting (its landscape) and the design of the landscape together with the building are fundamental parts of the planning process. Unfortunately, architectural endeavors sometimes focus almost exclusively on the building itself. How the building might relate to its setting is often an afterthought. As a result, important opportunities to enhance both the building and its site are overlooked.
Via Karen du Toit