A Material Algorithm: The Library as Word and World

The thesis takes basis in Jorge Luis Borges story ‘The Library of Babel’ where the universe is an infinite library containing books where every possible combination of letters is written down meaning any pos-sible information can be found regardless of its veracity. This function can be closely linked to the digital framework of the internet and its current standing in the socio-political discourse where fake news and misinformation are causing polarisation on a large scale. The library which traditionally work on a similar premise, for people to gather and gain information, is currently existing as a parallel to the digital algo-rithm, where it is holding on to its customary functions unable to perform the needs of an increasingly digital world. The project sees it as an aim to find how the library can be what the internet cannot, while containing the qualities and freedoms the digital space achieve, a place to connect as well as a place of individual freedom.

The proposed structure and individual spaces architectural aim is to sustain the ability traditional libraries have to give a sense of curiosity and for a sense of travel to be translated into the physical space. The project is constructed with the consideration of the traditional library struggling to perform what society currently requires from a public space of information. It is not an aim for the project to disregard what the library is, but to acknowledge what it isn’t. The programme aims to perform this by creating a hierarchy of spaces ranging from communal, shared to individual, in quiet, moderate and louder spaces as an aim to keep the qualities of a library while incorporating the functions of the digital space. People are invited to use the hierarchy of spaces to acquire and share information, thereby functioning as the algorithm of the physical space.