Since ancient times, “the library” as a cultural and social building is an autonomous building typology. “Reading” is essential for human development, learning and independent living. Books ignite the imagination and encourage creativity. In our day libraries do not claim anymore to collect an all-encompassing knowledge, they rather enable a broad access to education, culture and knowledge in diverse media types and languages. Away from metropolitan areas, library access, especially for children and young people, can be dif cult, wide city quarters and suburban areas can be only reached with mobile library busses.
The research project “Bibliobus Multimédia” was designed by students taking part in a class in the “Department of Interior Architecture and Design Basics” collaborating with the “Workshop for Prototype Construction” at the PBSA / HS D. After a year of preparation the bus was build in 5 weeks for the French Institute in Duesseldorf.The launch took place in November 2014. Since then the experimental mobile library visits weekly different cities in North Rhine Westphalia. The design concept was to create a bus with solely French media, where French and German readers would feel welcome.The bus is an important place for communication and point of contact for French speaking people, who live far away from home, and a networking location for Francophile Germans.The bus visits schools, kindergartens and,on a regular basis, multiple city libraries in NRW. It functions as a mobile ambassador for France and ful lls a representative function in special events of communities and other institutions in NRW- for example cultural events, the France festival and the annual Fête de la Musique.There are regular reading circles and movie presentations. The bus should be a moving “French island” within Germany. Constructed is now a prototypical bus with high sojourn quality.
There are two comfortable benches with audio / video installations, where one can listen to music or can browse through the catalogue of the whole mediatheque of the Institut Français. Hidden within the shelves are additional exible seats for reading circles and small lm presentations, which can also be used outdoors. There are diverse storage options in the book shelves and cupboards, as well as lightweight boxes, with which media can be carried to presentations in schools or with which books, DVDs and CDs can be easily swapped against other media in the mediatheque. The construction of a library bus has particular dif culties. In addition to the technical and constructive issues of placing a certain amount of books and other medias securely, exibility and quick usability at diverse location is a main priority. The typical standard library busses have little exibility and the Interior design / furniture is expensive and heavy, little inviting and have mostly no sojourn quality. The initial research in 2013/2014 focused on the new development and design of a small library bus (registered as small vehicle/PKW). Essential research aspects for the Bachelor students were inner and outer appearance, material weight, cost and high exibility of the interior furniture. The most determining factor in the planning was the total weight.The gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tones could not be exceeded, since the bus is authorized as “small vehicle” (PKW).The weight of the pure vehicle was 2.6 tones, which left just 900 kg for interior furniture and the load of books, DVDs and CDs, coffee machine, etc.. Keeping the maximum load capacity in mind, it was essential to use materials, which have a suf cient load-bearing capacity for the books and stability with low intrinsic weight. Overall, the weight of the installed equipment was about 410 kg, which allows for 490 kg of additional media.The interior build-out uses an innovative sheet material, which is 40 % lighter compared to a traditional sheet material, while maintaining the same structural performance.The surface becomes durable through multiple layers of paint.The interior appearance is supposed to reference the French national colors in a subtle way.The oor is covered with dark blue linoleum ooring, which contrasts with lightly stained wooden surfaces.The ooring material serves in a polished and oiled variation as surface of the desk area. Haptic properties and appearance changed through that treatment.The same material is used for different interior applications.The backwall is covered with a matt-white, magnetic HPL materi- al.Thus the magnetic board can be either used as information board or as projection wall for the integrated projector.