The Contest

In the summer of 2010, the Romania Green Building Council and Biblionet co-organized a contest that proposed improving access to information technology and providing a sustainable renovation of an existing library; typical for a small Romanian community. In addition to helping a small community create a state of the art library, the contest results would showcase an exemplary sustainable building; environmentally responsible in its design, renovation and operation, and transfer best building practices to the local communities and other libraries around Romania.

Project Premises:

The existing public library is situated in the cultural center of Cacica, between the new school and the Basilica Minor, in the close vicinity of the old school of the village (built in 1816), of the Salt Mine and that of the Polish House.

The site is easily accesible from the main road of the town through two small bridges over the Cacica creek, and it houses both (old and new) schools and the library.

Until the start of this project, the studied building, built in 1896, housed a kindergarten and a library. The existing rooms were used more as classrooms than reading spaces, ignoring the spacial requirements of a library. As a consequence of the contest, the two classes of the kindergarten were recently moved to the adjacent school, where they benefit from indoor water utilities.

The rigid layout of the interior walls provided little flexibility and adaptability in design and function, and led to the impossibility of serving the immediate and future requirements of the library and the community. The stored book collection of the library contained only printed media (7800 books), and no IT services.

Besides the mentioned functional issues the building suffers from poor quality finishes and shell, lack of utilities, inadequate insulation, poor quality entrance area and lack of disabled persons access. In particular, the asbestos roof tiles and the lack of hot and cold water utilities inside the library have created a significant health risk for the building users and the adjacent primary school.

The library has the conformation of a typical house, with a porch and a main hall which connects the three rooms of the house (the kitchen, the master bedroom and the guests' room, in this case the classrooms). However, the orientation of the library its different, opposite to the usual one, since the porch is along the North side, not the South one.

The structure of the building is formed by load-bearing brick walls with stone foundation, while the slab is made of wooden beams and earth filling.

Heating is provided by a series of decentralised wood-fired stoves within each room. Water is supplied from an on-site well, placed exactly in the front of the library's access area.