Danish Agency for Culture and schmidt hammer lassen architects launch new library and architecture award

Danish or foreign public libraries that opened in January 2012 or later may now participate in a competition for a new architecture award in the amount of DKK 25,000. The prize is awarded by the Danish Agency for Culture and schmidt hammer lassen architects

Public Library of the Year Award 2014

Schmidt hammer lassen architects – Public Library of the Year Award is the name of a new architecture prize that will be awarded for the first time in August 2014 in connection to the annual conference of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in Lyon, France.

The prize is an offshoot of the Model Programme for Public Libraries project of the Danish Agency for Culture and Realdania, which has motivated municipalities to develop the library of the future.

”The Model Programme for Public Libraries has given impetus to the debate about the process of transformation in which libraries are already engaged.  Libraries are changing from the librarian-run book library into a cultural meeting place and knowledge centre that takes its starting point in the needs and interests of the public and our new digital age,” says the director of the Danish Agency for Culture, Anne Mette Rahbæk.

”Architecture plays a vital role here, and we have been a little surprised at the considerable international interest in the project. We would like to follow up on this, and the honorary award will help maintain focus and interest,” says Anne Mette Rahbæk.

Meeting place for knowledge 

As the name indicates, the prize is sponsored by the practice schmidt hammer lassen architects, and it goes to the public agency that is responsible for the new library.

Modern libraries are one of the most important platforms for exchanging knowledge.  As opposed to information found on the internet, the knowledge that arises through collaboration and exchange between people in a library is of particular significance. That is why it is crucial for library architecture to support collaboration and create spaces that invite people to meet,” says Morten Schmidt, senior partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects.

Nominations for buildings must be made before midnight on 3 August 2014.  Applications may be filled out digitally, and the form may be found on the Model Programme’s homepage: http://modelprogrammer.kulturstyrelsen.dk/en/

Terms and conditions for nomination
The first requirement to be considered is that the library must be a new construction or designed for a building that was not previously used as a library.  The new library must have opened in the period between 1 January 2012 and 16 June 2014.

The evaluation will take place on the basis of an overall assessment of six criteria: How it has involved the public and users; accessibility and interplay with surroundings; flexible functions that are adapted to user desires; architectural quality; digital communication in the building; and the architecture’s interplay with local culture.

The six criteria are described in more detail on the Model Programme’s homepage: http://modelprogrammer.kulturstyrelsen.dk/en/

Panel of judges

  • Anne Mette Rahbæk, director, Danish Agency for Culture
  • Morten Schmidt, senior partner, schmidt hammer lassen architects
  • Kent Martinussen, director, Danish Architecture Centre
  • Jan Richards, manager, Central West Libraries, New South Wales, Australia. IFLA Public Libraries Section
  • Jens Lauridsen, head librarian, Tårnby Municipal Libraries
  • Marie Østergaard, project leader, Main Library, Aarhus

Additional information:
Danish Agency for Culture: Chief Adviser Jonna Holmgaard Larsen, +45 3373 3352jhl@kulturstyrelsen.dk

Tine Vind                                                                                                                                     Head of Division for Libraries, The Danish Agency for Culture

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