Exercise 2.2: Touch, Smell & Emotions (Peckham Library)

Sounds: Created by other visitors to the library, talking, walking, placing items on surfaces. I think this place is a little loud for a library.

Touch: I’m sitting near the window, the sun is shining on me. Feels nice and warm. Then the clouds arrive, it’s not so warm anymore, not uncomfortable, but I preferred the sunshine. I’m siting in a plastic chair, reasonably comfortable, but not amazing. I can feel plastic surface of the table, smooth but a little grainy. It’s temperature is neutral.

I’m feeling relaxed but not too comfortable. I’m blaming plastic furniture.

Below is the drawing of my feelings as described above. I found it quite difficult, drawing sounds seems like a piece of cake in comparison!

After I completed this drawing I moved to a new area, the quiet zone under pod where the computers are.

It was darker there, also quieter than other area but could hear people nearby talking. Also someone tapping on the keyboard. A small child nearby (in the pod above me?) shrieking.

Touch: same surfaces as before, smooth but grainy plastic surfaces. Temperature is comfortable, I’m wearing my coat, without it I would probably be a bit chilly.

I’m feeling less comfortable in this area but still calm and fairly relaxed.

Here’s a drawing depicting the above.

Exercise 2.1 Soundscapes (Peckham Library)

I visited Peckham Library again today. They let me in before they opened so I could take some pictures. My ‘listening experience’ drawing started before opening times, so the sounds I heard were created by library staff. I closed my eyes and tried to draw what I was hearing…

I’m pleased I brought an a4 pad this time, drawing sounds requires good space

Then the library opened to the public for the day, people started to come in, the place got louder, the sounds changed. At first it was mainly staff on the phone, people walking, someone hoovering in the distance. Suddenly it got crowded, place got instantly busy. Loud talking, multiple conversations at once, steps everywhere, squeaking floorboards, items laid out on tables, rustling of paper, someone sighed.

In the drawing above I pictured steps as circles, voices as twirly lines, sharp noises as sharp angular lines. I drew them as I heard them, in order.

Exercise 1.1: Peckham Library

Observations:

Users, who, how many?

I visited on a week day around 10am, so the users were mainly adults, most tables were occupied, around 30-40 people on my floor. It was busy, despite people being stationary it felt busy. In relation to noise levels it was relatively quiet , some people were having conversations, but most were working alone. People that spend time here are studying and reading.

Reflection on why I chose this space:

Peckham Library is an interesting building that won the Stirling Prize for Architecture in 2000. It has many features to explore and it is a public space which means I won’t have any issues accessing it. Most important for me is: the building has been designed with a lot of thought, and I’d rather study a building that has a purpose and it’s been well designed to serve the community rather than any space that may be useful, but may be less interesting. This building is interesting, useful, and is well designed.

Staircase at the back of the building
Steps leading to the main library, which is high above ground level
Main entrance area on the ground floor
Outside the library public space is maximised thanks to ‘upside down’ design of the building

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