Open Air Library, Magdeburg, Germany

This self-styled “architectural bookmark” is the latest winner of the biennial European Prize for Urban Public Space. The designers KARO converted an unused industrial median into an open-access book repository and lending facility, at once compressing a typical library and turning it inside out to make a welcoming public space for reading, eating, school plays, and the like. I love how, in that orientation, the library—and the community space it creates—extends beyond the plaza and into the city itself. It reminds me of the closing passage of the Douglas Adams novel So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.


Originally published at

Add Your Comments