New Durban Central Library Exhibition & Research Hub
South Africa
New Durban Central City (NDCC) Library – gathering and sharing information for social benefit.
There is a growing sense that the age of public libraries is over. But in reality, public libraries are more essential than ever. The 15000sq.m New Durban Central City (NDCC) Library constitutes an investment of approximately R500m by both local and provincial government with planned completion in 2018. A project of this magnitude has clear catalytic spin-offs for the City physically and as a Centre for knowledge sharing, culture and learning. To be located in the ‘heart’ of Durban’s CBD, the Centrum, the NDCC Library is seen as a catalytic instrument for the regeneration of the Inner City. It is also important to the Municipality that it demonstrates environmental sustainability through engaging principles, practices and processes for its delivery. With Durban hosting the UIA in August 2014, there was an opportunity to showcase the library project initiative to a local and international audience. The exhibition serves a very important role: as an exhibit showcasing the library development, as a point of contact for the public and all stakeholders, as the area for community participation to occur, as well as the public interface to view progress of the library. The selected location overlooks the NDCC Library site, and is placed to catch the attention of passing pedestrians, without creating an obstruction. Shipping containers offered a quick temporary solution, while somewhat appropriate in the context of a harbour city. The structure inhabits both sides of the path, though maintains a link between the two with an outdoor grass carpet. Benches and tables made of timber palettes provide a place to sit, with a palette tower of ‘books’ adding a vertical beacon and light source. The bright colours promote a vibrant association with learning and giant sized book graphics provide viewers with an indication of what this is about from afar. The smaller white container acts as a mini library, and has restricted views towards the NDCC Library Site. The bigger volume yellow container will house an ever changing update of models and drawings of the NDCC Library, and has a large full height window overlooking the future construction site. Free wi-fi access gives the public a taste for what is to come. It is intended that the exhibition remains until completion of the NDCC Library.

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