This Library’s Sweet New Design Uses Ice Cream Tubs As Walls
A new building in Indonesia uses cheap, durable buckets to turn an old stage into a safe space for learning
Public libraries are important community spaces but they aren’t always first for funding. However, Dutch architecture firm Shau is helping to create a series of micro-libraries in Indonesia, the first of which ingeniously uses ice cream tubs.
Built in the city of Bandung, the Taman Bima Microlibrary is a 1,700-square-foot structure that uses 2,000 ice cream tubs. It was built on a preexisting stage that was often used for community gatherings and cost €35,000 (or approximately $38,700). The structure itself is comprised of steel beams and concrete slabs, with the ice cream receptacles acting as the walls.
The material was chosen because it is light, cheap and translucent enough to allow for light. The walls are angled outward to keep out the rain, and during heavy storms translucent sliding doors behind the tubs can be closed to prevent water from entering. Holes were cut into some of the tubs to allow for air to pass through, eliminating the need for air conditioning without comprising the integrity of the design. The original plan was to use jerry cans, but they could not find enough locally to complete the project.
The cartons are even arranged in such a way that reveals a message: “buku adalah jendela dunia,” which is translated as “books are the windows to the world.” Shau told Dezeen that this message added to the overall effect of the building: “Not only does the facade give additional meaning to the building, but the buckets also generate a pleasant indoor light ambiance since they scatter direct sunlight and act as natural light bulbs.”
This series of libraries is meant to help promote reading and education among poorer communities in Indonesia, as well as combat the increasing drop-out rate. These efforts are supported by Dompet Dhuafa (Pocket for the Poor) and the Indonesian Diaspora Foundation, two charities that focus on alleviating poverty.