Bourbaki-Panorama/City Library Lucerne
Restoration of the historic rotunda, new building comprising the City Library, exhibition space, cinemas, restaurant, shops
completed 2000
The site conditions, listed buildings department restrictions, and brief lead to a dichotomous project, contrasting the rotunda and its enclosure. The historic rotunda, with restored gable walls, cornices and lantern, as well as pilasters and the circle of doric columns inside, is polychromatic and ornate. The new building, in contrast, is constructed of undecorated materials: concrete, glass, steel, brick and wooden panels. The external glass skin of the new building leaves the rotunda visible from the outside. Particularly after dark, it becomes the central figure within the luminous body of the building enclosure. In the library, the exterior wall of the rotunda is recast as a wall of books. The main library space opens outwards revealing the essence of the scheme: the presence of the drum within the glass cube - an inversion of the classic library type: the introverted reading room transforms into a great public 'loggia' facing the city.