072 Salbke Bookmark

Open-air library in Magdeburg-Salbke, 2009

KARO Architekten + Architektur+Netzwerk


The Salbke district of Magdeburg is an area that has fallen victim to considerable urban shrinking in recent years. It is run down and there are many vacant and derelict plots. In 2006, as part of an experimental residential and planning research program, KARO architects built a temporary, open-air library here on the site of the old local library, which had been demolished. The KARO library was built from empty beer crates and filled with books donated by the local community. The project was very popular and so an initiative was started to build a more permanent (yet still low budget) outdoor library structures. It was decided to use recycled building materials for the new project in the name of sustainable urban development. The coincidental availability of aluminium modules from a former West German shopping center façade from Hamm in Westphalia added an extra touch of irony: Old West consumer modernism becomes public urban furniture in the former East, and an architecturally iconic façade gets econically recycled. The completion of the library is planned for 2009.

KARO (Kommunikation, Architektur und Raumordnung) was founded 1999 in Leipzig, Germany. Antje Heuer (*1962, Leipzig) and Stefan Rettich (*1968, Ebingen) studied architecture; Bert Hafermalz (*1963, Halle) engineering, interior design and design. The three partners work as architects, urban planners, writers and in academic teaching. Salbke Bookmark was developed in collaboration with Sabine Eling-Saalmann.