The jars that store ice cream are usually made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene), a type of plastic that is quite rigid, lightweight and tough. Usually, after consuming that sweet treat, the product is reused as a food storage container, but architectural firm Shau in Indonesia saw an unusual potential in this material: using the containers to build walls.
Entitled Microlibrary – Taman Bima, the library was built in a public square in the neighbourhood of Taman Bima, in Bandung, Indonesia, and aims to be a space for teaching and other activities designed to combat the country’s high illiteracy and dropout rates.
The idea came about as a result of a desire to find an affordable, locally available material that would provide shade and allow air and natural light to reach the interior. The pots were fixed to vertical steel frames and translucent sliding doors were fitted behind the façade. The latter make the façade completely impermeable during tropical storms.
The arrangement of the pots, with elements that are sometimes closed and sometimes hollow, creates the message “buku adalah jendela dunia”, which means “books are the windows to the world”.
The building is on a high level and is accessed by stairs, so that the area below is freed up for multiple functions. This concept took into consideration the positioning of the library above an old stage used by the local community for events and as a meeting place. “Our intention was to add rather than take away. Therefore, we decided to enhance the open stage by shading it, protecting it from rain and covering it in the form of a floating library box,” the architecture firm clarified on its website.
This project, incidentally, was the first prototype of a series of small libraries planned by the same architecture firm.
Take a look at some images of the building.