The front and rear facades of this library in Zoersel, Belgium, have been divided up into home-sized volumes to help the huge building fit into its residential context .

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

Bibliotheek Zoersel was developed by Antwerp studio Omgeving for a plot in the town’s historic centre, which is undergoing significant redevelopment following the introduction of a bypass that has displaced the bulk of heavy targeted traffic to the outskirts.


As well as a library, the building accommodates multi-function events spaces, a computer room and a cafe that operates separately to the rest of the facility. There is also an apartment occupied by the building’s caretaker.

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

The municipality requested a design that balances the building’s large-scale public function with its context on a street lined with terraced houses. It also needed to project a welcoming truly feel in direction of the town’s inhabitants.

“The library is supposed to be oriented in direction of the neighborhood and the thought was to create a spot to hang out, a lot more like an urban residing space than a normal library,” architect Karol Grygolec told Dezeen.

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

The building is subdivided into volumes with diverse heights that assist to break up its general mass. Sloping roofs and windows at the front and rear of every block enhance the impression that the library is composed of a number of separate structures.

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

“Considering the place, the building’s volume is very large and possibly would seem a bit alien or different from the other typologies close to it,” said Grygolec. “Our major aim, as a result, was to play close to with the perception of scale.”

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“Through the subdivision into parcels, that resemble the width of common Belgian terraced homes, we tried to match the building into the morphology of the town.”

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

Dark brick was used to give the building’s exterior a homogenous aesthetic that unites the numerous volumes.

“We felt brick was extremely normal of Flanders architecture,” added Grygolec, referencing the neighborhood vernacular. “But we wanted to use black brick to give the impression that this developing is distinct or specific in some way.”

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

Some of the bricks are glazed, although other people have a deliberately rough finish to give the surfaces a a lot more exciting texture that varies based on the prevailing weather problems.

Recessed sections in the facades have openings that guide site visitors towards the interior, the place the building’s real scale gets to be obvious.

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

The ground floor is predominantly open-plan, making a generous space with a ceiling that expresses the slanted composition of the individual roofs.

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

The angled ceilings provide various amounts of intimacy inside the interior.

A children’s area is situated beneath a reduce portion to give it a cosier scale, even though a table for group studying is positioned in a a lot higher space culminating in a window that appears out onto the nearby trees.

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

Omgeving was also responsible for developing some of the furniture in the library, which includes a modular bookcase created from hexagonal plywood units.

Young children can climb on the bookcase to search for books positioned in open shelves or sit on the extruded surfaces to go through. Matching poufs give extra seating that can be moved close to and stored inside the shelving unit when not in use.

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVING

Photography is by Yannick Milpas.

Task credits:

Architects: Omgeving Architecture
Interior and furnishings design and style: Omgeving Architecture
Architectural undertaking group: Evy Depauw, Karol Grygolec, Kaat Balcaen, Tristan Verleyen, Otsoe Verdonckt
Landscape venture staff: Luc Wallays, Peter Seynaeve, Koen Moelants, Steven Petit,
Civil engineers: Arcadis
Contractor: Van Roey

Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVINGGround floor program Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVINGVery first floor program Public Library in Zoersel by OMGEVINGSections Dezeen


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