Library of
Design, Art and Idea

Libraries as a Heritage Structure

03.12.2019
Sayı 22

As the time that the screens take up in our daily lives increases, I began to think about the meaning of libraries and printed books. Television, which initiated this process, actually allowed for some socializing at first. However, with the arrival of portable computers followed by mobile phones, individuals now live in cells with invisible walls, shut off from their surroundings. The rise of more and more communication tools led to different dimensions of interaction between people than anticipated, but in another way, it also became the worst enemy of engagement.

Author: Aydan Volkan


As the time that the screens take up in our daily lives increases, I began to think about the meaning of libraries and printed books. Television, which initiated this process, actually allowed for some socializing at first. However, with the arrival of portable computers followed by mobile phones, individuals now live in cells with invisible walls, shut off from their surroundings. The rise of more and more communication tools led to different dimensions of interaction between people than anticipated, but in another way, it also became the worst enemy of engagement.

Looking at thing from this point of view, defending libraries can be perceived as a nostalgic consolation in an era when any information can be accessed via our phones. So, why bother going to the library after suffering all the traffic when we can just sit on the couch and Google the information we need or download the latest book of our favorite author to our Kindle in just two clicks?

Actions like living in and getting a sense of a space, smelling the environment, contacting objects and people have been replaced by finger touches on the screen. Seeing and being seen is trapped in an Instagram frame. As communication tools increase, physical communication is beginning to disappear.

Atatürk Kitaplığı, Mimar Sedad Hakkı Eldem (1973-75)

To me, libraries have always been more than just the structures built for access to books and information. Each library is a space that brings people together, making it easier for people with the same interests to engage with each other. Libraries are one of the most important organs of a city. Not only because of the information it contains, but because it is a place that provides an opportunity for people who seek information to convene.

Libraries are designed to offer an environment for you to focus on your thoughts, concentrate on what you read, and get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. We all know how we can sometimes feel overwhelmed by email and social media notifications and communication apps such as WhatsApp. It takes extra effort to focus on what you are reading among all the alerts and notifications. And I see libraries as spaces that make it a little easier for me.

I also believe that libraries should be spaces that not only facilitate reading, but also stimulate thinking. I don't believe that the libraries at most of the newer universities, usually forced to be in the forms of shelves in the basement of a building or in a space that is not well designed will serve this purpose.

When designing Piri Reis University, we positioned the library block at the most valuable part of the land with views of the sea. The administration block, which houses prestigious places such as the rector's office and the meeting room of the board of trustees, is placed behind it because the employer had accepted this as the right thing to do. The library is the most valuable and important unit of a university campus. And we conceived it to reflect this significance.

In a sense, I see resemblances between the library at Piri Reis University to the Istanbul Atatürk Library. Both face the sea, giving you a chance to contemplate as you look at the horizon.

Unfortunately, it feels like the importance of libraries has been ignored in our country, especially in the last 10-15 years. I hope that this situation will improve, and instead of serving as demonstrating ideologies, well-designed, functional new library structures will be built in all every district and even neighborhood.

Sayı 22
Zai Bodrum Atölye Mil Looking From In-Between