Library of the Monastery Loccum/text


Location: Loccum
Competition: 2. Prize 2016
Client: Predigerseminar Loccum

Library of the Monastery Loccum

Besides various constructional developments and changes during the centuries, the monastery – in its core – has always kept the simplicity and design of its Cistercian heritage. This attitude – refusing to adapt to changing fashions but maintaining a clear view for the overall concept – subordinates any interference to the spirit of the place. This mindset has also been kept when inserting the new library building we designed during the competition in 2016.

The building by J.W. Prendel from the 1990s, situated within the intersection of the Refectory and the former sleeping house (Slaphus) is a very good and gentle reoccupation of the former gap. Yet today, it is not enough in order to house a library as well as being functional for further usage requirements. Prendel’s building is not protected by memorial law; nevertheless, it shows a quality of sensibility and insertion into the complex that cannot be denied.  Therefore, it is integrated into the new concept – the cubage, roof and façade form the testimony of the historical update and present an entirely new library complex.

Including the most prominent elements of the Prendel House is not only due to the acknowledgement of its historical dimension and value, but also the best strategy when it comes to economic and energetic aspects. Directly connecting to the extension, the gable wall of the Prendel House becomes the interior wall in the new entrance area of the library. The new construction is clad with the same stone material as the existing building. Continuous horizontal joints soothe the surface and emphasize the length and serenity of the new building.

The Prendel House and the new annex receive a unifying roof with wooden tiles integrating both parts and presenting a uniform cubage that fits the proportionality of the surrounding complex. Just the roof – the part that faces east – reveals a new motif: a slim gable opening up towards the academy. Not a historical element by proportion and formation, but a clear signal: an opening outwards, out of the introvert monastic complex and a clear sign towards the academy wishing to open up even more and connect.

By designing the new library wing this way, we created an intimate garden in the south bordered on three sides, completed by the Tithe Barn as the fourth wall. Named “Prior’s Garden” this place will be designed by a landscape architect later.

By positioning the public entrance of the library within the protected area underlines the affiliation to the monastic quarter.

The internal main entrance to the library still is the entrance from the Refectory. After removing the deconstructive shelves that reach up to two storeys and restoring the setting from C.W.Hase the room receives a representative entrée and presentation space. The library itself will be equipped with special shelves, cabinets and a comfortable seating area. The spatial position of the furniture is determined by the structure of the vault. With the presentation space the Refectory can also be used for specific events thus increasing the connection between the library and different usages for events.