Ceuta Public Library, Spain (awarded 2011–2013)
The site, known as Huerta Ru no, was originally one that the municipality of Ceuta had earmarked for residential development. It was known that the area was one of archaeological worth, but it was originally assumed that any remains to be found in this part of Ceuta would be related to a necropolis. During the mid-1990s, archaeological work revealed the remains of a 14th-century Muslim urban settlement, which is believed to be an accommodation for retreats (Rashidi, 2016). Once the value of this archaeological site had been recognised following excavation in 1995, the city’s archaeologist and the director of culture successfully lobbied and put pressure on the municipality to abandon the idea of building housing and instead to integrate the archaeological remains into a new cultural institution. Subsequently, the library project was initiated in 2007 through a public competition held by the state, and the scheme by Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos was the winner (Rashidi, 2016).
Metaphorically, acting like a ‘veil,’ the facade is cladded with perforated aluminium panels to filter the harsh glare while providing views out and to unify the different components - reading rooms, auditorium, activity rooms, multimedia areas, bookstore, terrace, and outdoor reading area (Figure 4.7). The lines created by the aluminium panels respect the gradients of the streets, while the warm beige colour of the concrete base connects the library with the surrounding rocky landscape. The veil, wrapping around all sides equally, hides utilitarian functions such as ducts (Mostafavi, 2016). At night, the face of the building changes, as the veil becomes partially transparent.
Figure 4.7 Ceuta Public Library, Spain, by Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos Source: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Cemal Emden (photographer)
The site rises sharply from the front (northern) side to its back (southern) side, leading to a steep side street forming an 8.4-metre difference in gradient between the northern and southern facades. The library is organised in terraces on the slope, embracing the historical remains. The lecture rooms are stacked in several levels overlooking the void where groups of hanging triangular lamps with peaks in both geometries are set over the archaeological centre. On the roof-level terrace, an open reading room is placed, shaded by the aluminium-perforated skin. Visitors can look down on the archaeology from the terraced upper floors, which house the book collection, study, lecture, and event spaces in a mix of single- and double-height rooms (How- arth, 2013). A shaded reading terrace on the roof provides views out over the sea and across to Europe on a clear day. In terms of a programme, therefore, it was not an unusual list for spatial requirements of a library. The main twist to the project was to design a library that would respect and enhance its remarkable historic context to ensure its preservation (Rashidi, 2016).
Post-Tsunami Housing, Sri Lanka (shortlisted 2011–2013)
In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami off the Sumatra coast in 2004, Philip Bay - former regional director for Southeast Europe of Colliers International, a real estate company with operations in fifty-four countries - developed the concept of a rehousing scheme under the auspices of his personal company. The district of Hambantota in the Muslim village of Kir- inda, Southern Province in Sri Lanka, was one of the areas worst affected, suffering a reported 4500 deaths (Barakat, 2013). Fishing and diving are the principal occupations of the villagers. As a historically neglected and marginalised area of Sri Lanka, and because of the severe damage caused to its residents by the tsunami (Barakat, 2013), Bay launched the Kirinda Trust Fund, an initiative to raise USD 1,000,000 for the project. Moreover, three charity organisations in India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka contacted the architect Shigeru Ban, based on his past disaster relief activities in different areas, asking for reconstruction support. In January 2005, after studying all the proposals, Ban agreed to work with Bay, in a voluntary capacity, as head of design (Ban, 2010). When Ban arrived, there were different types of tents, temporary houses, and various NGOs and national flags. The worldwide aid associations were competing to obtain their territories and to complete their projects.
To relieve this confusion, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) of the Sri Lankan government set up stipulations for the overall plan that this project was supposed to follow (Ban, 2010). The project included the construction of sixty-seven houses, a mosque, and a tree plantation (Figure 4.8). The building area of the project is 71 square metres per house, spread throughout
Figure 4.8 Post-Tsunami Housing, Kirinda, Sri Lanka, by Shigeru Ban Architects Source: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Cemal Emden (photographer)
Kirinda village in an area of 15,900 square metres. The basic objectives of the project were to facilitate the return of displaced families by constructing new homes. Therefore, speed of reconstruction and minimisation of costs were prioritised. Ban’s design comprises a single-storey structure with walls made from compressed earth blocks and a pitched roof made from locally sourced teak and coconut wood. Ban believes in the importance of community engagement for disaster resilient control; the discussion with about 100 villagers was the key for the sustainable future and success of this project. By gathering the villagers, Ban realised the importance for separate spaces for men and women; space for fishery and diving tools; and attaching service areas (toilets, shower, and kitchen) to the housing units; criteria not included in the UDA plan (Ban, 2010).
Each house has two bedrooms, a hall, and a sheltered courtyard, which residents can use as a dining room, social space, or simply a place to repair fishing nets (Frearson, 2013). Moreover, the project aimed to maintain the village’s pre-disaster social and cultural structure by building the homes on the same plots as they were previously located, while delivering structural environments that enhanced the inhabitants’ quality of life (Barakat, 2013). During the construction, students from Keio University, where Ban taught, travelled to Sri Lanka to participate in the construction while learning the on-site production of materials and communicating by gesture with the local people. Furthermore, the students planted trees around the houses, as well as studied landscaping at the University of Moratuwa in Colombo (Ban, 2010).