Model Programme for Public Libraries

Kultur styrrelsen

Realdania

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Integrated café at Tårnby Main Library

Café Lix & Kerner opened in January 2017, and in conjunction with the library and the newly established outdoor areas, it has become a new, central gathering point for the local community.

Forecourt – the library and the café's facade.

Process

The project commenced with a concept description of the collaboration between the desired café and the library, including interaction between the urban space and a vision plan for the cohesion between the public options in the area. The object was to develop an urban space with open, inviting and potentially collaborating public facilities. Funding from Tårnby Municipality in 2015 along with support and assistance for concept development from Realdania facilitated the realisation of an integrated café at Tårnby Main Library.

The forecourt with outdoor stage, benches and parking.

Location and architecture

Café Lix & Kerner is located immediately inside the library's main entrance in connection with the library. 'Lix' refers to the readability index, while 'Kerner' refers to healthy, homemade bread – the name serves as a link that binds library and café together. The café is manifested clearly against the patio and the forecourt by virtue of its large glass facade. Architecturally, the café has been punched out of the existing brick facade, which was originally designed by architect Gehrdt Bornebusch and completed in 1983. A simple, distinctive concrete frame has been inserted into the facade with an angled projection that provides space for signage while at the same time stressing the connection to the forecourt.

The concept of the building is simple and minimalist. The establishment of the café via the wall penetration has resulted in a brand new visual connection between a modern, expressive and relation-seeking library and the surrounding urban space. The design was created by a municipal architect based on a sketch from Lendager Arkitekter.

The café has seating for 20 indoors and is open, cosy and informal. It has an independent expression, but also features architecture that unites it with the library and the urban space.

Transition zone and forecourt

The value of the café stems from, among other things, its link to the outdoor area and the open correspondence with the urban space that the café creates for the library. The patio is furnished with just one table, a few chairs and a couple of benches – all made from granite. During the summer, these are supplemented by portable tables and chairs. The patio faces north, and the expectation was that most people would move further out into the forecourt to sit in the sun. However, it turns out that many users remain in the shade or early morning sun to eat and drink coffee.

The forecourt features two sets of tables and benches made from wood and metal, a curved concrete sofa bench, and a wooden stage staircase. The stage staircase is multifunctional and is used both for sitting and playing and for various events and activities. There is also a stage, which is covered by a sculptural sail. A power outlet is available for sound and lighting in the six masts that carry the sail.

Organisation

The café business, which was put out to open tender in 2016, is run with a social economy perspective. Café Lix & Kerner is a small company that collaborates with a number of stakeholders: volunteers from the social integration association Venligboerne, EGU students (basic vocational education and training programme), Netværkshuset (community centre for vulnerable adults), work experience trainees, the municipality's volunteer coordinator, the local job centre and external employment consultants.

The new café counter was built from recycled bricks from the wall that was broken down.

The organisational interaction and collaboration between café and library is decisive for a sound operation. The library has to include the café in its plans for the operation of the library as regards events, activities and meetings, while the café must be ready to be integrated and developed in a library environment with a continual stream of different activities and events. The goal is that the café and the library will be experienced as a part of each other. There should be visible interaction, even though these are actually two separate enterprises.

The urban space

With Café Lix & Kerner and Tårnby Main Library as the starting point, an entirely new urban space has been created on account of the patio, forecourt and Kamillehaven, the small green facility between Kastrup Gymnastics Centre and the library.

Kamillehaven features tables and benches, play equipment and an organically shaped exercise frame for young children.

A few years back, the area did not inspire people to spend any time there. Today, the place has been transformed, and due to the different installations and measures, there are now people among the houses. The citizens of Tårnby have welcomed the new urban space and brought it to life. The next phase in the development of the urban space will be an experiment involving the large car park between the health centre, the police station and the library.

The plan is that some of the parking spaces can periodically be closed, for instance on a Sunday for activities such as swap markets, veteran car exhibitions or open air shows. Another vision is to establish parking spaces for shared cars, power stands for recharging of electric cars, and air stands for bicycles.

The café project has created cohesion and dynamics in the urban space around Tårnby Main Library – something that can potentially spread as a vibrant cultural band from Nature Park Amager in the west to Kastrup Sea Bath, Kastrup Marina and The Blue Planet in the east.

Operation

Since it opened, Café Lix & Kerner has contributed significantly to an increase of about 20 % in the number of visitors to Tårnby Main Library, which already had a very high number of visitors. The café serves between 200 and 300 customers per day and is open throughout almost all of the library's opening hours, which stresses the cohesion between the two organisations.

29. Aug 2017 at. 13:44

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