Julian Besems

Books as Bytes | Piraeus, Greece | Unit 21 | 2019

Click to see Design Realisation
This project is not about the design of a single building, but the development of a software program that generates a building design based on user information.
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The primary focus of the project is the development of such a program for a university libraries. In this the smallest spatial unit within the program is a book. The way the books are sorted and how they relate to each other determines the configuration of the bookshelves, which in turn dictates the walkways within the library. After the internal spaces have been generated, the external envelope is established based on the internal constraints.
I started the project by looking at the Piraeus shipping port, and analysing the containers as a real life example of a dynamic three dimensional landscape. Next to this central topics are the crisis of refugees being stuck on the Greek islands off the coast of Turkey, and the impact of the Piraeus port privatisation on the dockworker community.
The building programme is a new university campus for the recently established UNIWA university in Athens. This university was formed by the merger of two other universities, but currently these campuses are still separated. The new campus consists of an open study landscape surrounding 8 faculty libraries. Based on how people interact with the campus it adapts to their behaviour. This occurs on two levels: the reconfiguration of the libraries, and the adjustment of the study landscape.
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Library reconfiguration
After every semester the library is reconfigured based on the current collection of books, and the reading behaviour of its users. This behaviour is measured by the analysis of book requests submitted to the libraries via twitter. Additionally this also initiates the facade guidance system to lead the user to the book he requests. This concept of using social media to guide someone to their desired destination is based on the way refugees rely on social media to inform their journey.
The reconfiguration of the library is executed by the dockworkers that have lost permanent contracts due to the port takeover by COSCO.
Study landscape adaptation
The study landscape is made up by stepped plateaus with rotating wall panels on them. The angle of these wall panels are given by a vector field based on the amount of tweets directed to the different faculties. Each day the study landscape is set to the most recent twitter data. In this way longer clear pathways are created towards the faculties with a high number of tweets. nullnull
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