Wall of Knowledge

Posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 02009 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
link Categories: Digital Dark Age, Long Term Art   chat 0 Comments

Long Now friend and supporter Ken Wilson sends in this awesome concept for the Stockholm Library.  This design seems like it would lend itself well to a 10,000 year library…

The image above is a rendering by a team of students at the Architecture School of Paris La Seine. You can see the un-textured model below and read how the design was generated over at CG Society.

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  • David Rysdam

    Cool looking: Yes.
    10,000 year design: With sunlight falling right on the books?

  • I’d hate to be a page there!

  • Just look at that awesome library. Just look at it.

  • Andrew

    I got the same feeling looking at this as I did when I looked over the edge of Half Dome in Yosemite.

  • @David Rysdam: Great observation. We still have a LONG way to go in long-term thinking.

    Other than looking pretty on a portfolio I don’t know what problem is this supposed to solve. It puts a gulf between books and readers, is a pain to navigate (only one stair in the middle of a long level), and I wonder how are you supposed to reach the higher shelves. I seriously doubt it even saves on lighting -you know, midday doesn’t last forever- and even their own render shows most levels will have poor illumination.

    Actually, it’s a pretty good example of short-term thinking -a cool print for an architect’s portfolio. If you want it to last and be useful, bring an engineer.

    (And no, I’m not an engineer).

  • John

    Yeah, that doesn’t make good sense with all that sunlight hitting those books. Silly humans.

  • RP Johnson

    For something to serve in the 21st century, this is a waste of resources. The concept is centuries old and does little to make existing knowledge available to a larger, more diverse population. Impressive, yes. But so are the pyramids.

  • So put in some lights and don’t allow for sunlight to enter. Problem solved, and we have a great design.

    As for the problem of reaching the top shelves – libraries do this all the time. They put books that are hardly ever used where they can only be reached after going through some trouble. For example using a sliding ladder.

    Accessability is not much of a problem either. One shelf alone contains loads of books, so once you’re there you’ll have access to a whole section. Unless you need to access books on cooking, horseback riding, mathematics, space engineering and popular music within an arms reach, you’re not gonna have a problem. Instead of entering a specific room of an ordinary library, you’ll enter a specific shelf. I don’t really see the problem.

  • Wow, absolutely mind-boggling.

  • Preserving the classic medium of knowledge is an interesting idea, it visually imparts the concept of knowledge as a construction.

  • I think it would be pretty cool combined with a Google-like scan of all the books. Researchers would work at workstations. Select the group of books you want to work with and robots are dispatched to retrieve them. When done you send them back. Since the locations of all the books would be stored in a database, there’s no need to worry about stacking them in the correct order.

    This isn’t your normal lending library, this would be like having all our printed knowledge on one wall for tourists and visitors to marvel at. Researchers would book private rooms for their study.

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  • Robert Speirs

    Books? On paper? What are those?

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  • Reminded me of giant version of Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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  • What about inclusive Arch/Design???

    The books getting damaged is the least of my worries.

    What about the People? Pregnant women? Old people? Mobility-challenged citizens?

    I really doubt they will implement elevators there, it would ruin the Image.

    What about climbing all the way to the last floor and down again only to notice you forgot to bring one book? What about tables near the shelves for quick cross-consultations?

    Stunning? For sure! As all StArchitecture. Too bad they sold the people for the WOW factor.

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  • a very interesting discussion above with a number of interesting points raised, addressed and counter-raised (longevity, acessibility, resources..)

    what it does very well though is attract attention and encourage reflection. perhaps these are its greatest assets and the point of the excersise.

    one more thing – since this is intended for stockholm, it will never happen. the status quo is unfortunately all powerful here. at the moment.

  • Wow I just saw all the comments on my post here.

    I think what this space does very well is get you interested in all the stuff that could be in all those books. It shows depth and diversity. I see this as a place to see what books once looked like.

    In a seriously long term library, handling any physical volumes will have to be for special purposes only (like rescanning with better tech in the future). Most people will just access the data on those books as text.

    And yes you would have to solve the UV problem, but that could be done through coated glass, or just using archival lighting system in its place.

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  • I don’t know about all that naked concrete.


  • Wicked photo…. Impressive

    Thanks for sharing


  • zach

    @Hector Cuevas

    I’m an engineer, I think it looks awesome. lol if you want a real opinion on functionality never ask an engineer, all we think about is how to take something and make it even more awesome than it is now

  • jAzz

    beautiful, but impractical. impressive but hard to use. imagine that catwalk full of people. Browsing, carrying loads, groups of students combing the same sections and getting in everyone’s way. ugly book carts slowly wending there way. the occasional user with vertigo needing a librarian help just to look. suicides. accidents. falling books.guerrilla artists moving the books to make digital shapes and statements…beauty idea.

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  • Roland

    Wow, I just visited Stockholm and if this would have been built already I for sure would have visited it! So cool! It encaptures looking at collective wisdom or something like that…

  • Gaby

    you're right in a way, but i feel like the antechambers are going to be a lot wider than they seem

  • Kristina

    Oh. My. God. Geekasm. So wait..it's just a design idea? The Wall of Knowledge doesn't exist??

  • Great! Very passionate when it comes to books. Creative for having such a big library and putting all the books on one side of it. But i think though it's beautiful and useful it will still have disadvantages, how about if there are lots of people looking at one certain section? I think its a big problem.

  • Hello jAzz,

    In the digital age I don't know how many people really want the “real” book in their hands (use may wear them down, previous users might have loaded it with germs, others continuously lick every page a.s.o.) I'm not trying to say that I prefer digital versions (on the contrary) but for a library it could be an option.

    Besides any reflection on faisability: I wouldn't try to see it as a practicable library. It's just an impressive monument against ignorance – in the way that it shows you just how much we could (but don't) know (scio nihil scire). Agree?

  • Lasse

    Not everyone in the library will be at the stacks all at once..Just think!!! No more live load to consider on the floors when designing the structure.

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  • tom

    Humidity control would be a huge issue and damage the books

  • TheMadCatQueen

    The amazing thing is, a friend pointed this out to me…but having seen it in person, I can now say…

    This really does look JUST LIKE the library from the anime Mawaru Penguindrum…

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