Magdeburg, Germany, is the place where you can visit and admire the Open Air Library. With a budget of $325,000 Euros, the library was built on a surface of 488 square meters. The project started in2005, when residents of an abandoned district centre in East Germany used crates to build a district library and donated books filled the shelves of the former district library’s site. KARO Architekten were commissioned to build the modern Open Air Library we can see today. The abandoned industrial landscape was adorned with a fantastic urban experiment in the shape of a modern library, constructed from pieces of the modernist facade of the old HORTEN warehouse of the City of Hamm, built back in 1966. With no need for registration, the public library gathers readers in a contemporary outdoor setting. Readers can take books and bring them back or bring other ones in exchange, so that everyone can enjoy this open place and the knowledge it brings. Open 24 hours a day, the Open Air Library is also used for public readings, local band concerts and other cultural events. The elementary school uses the library for theater plays and every community member can take part in this cultural experiment.
An example of a huge success is Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using the large difference in level across the site, the architects created two folds in the landscape. Bold, but not conflicting with the rather bleak natural environment, these folds draw all the man-made areas together and create one fitting man-made break in the natural landscape. In the words of the architects themselves, There is no longer a building and a landscape, but building becomes landscape and the landscape itself remains spectacular and iconic
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light