The Lanai


Competition entry for a hypothetical building meant to be located within Hyde Park, along the Serpentine Lake in London. The program suggested in the brief included reading areas and shelves, administration, media and archive rooms, information spots and retail, all organized as a small scale library.

A Lānai is a roof-like construction originating from Hawaii, similar to a veranda. It commonly appears as an outdoor extension, used for leisure activities and dining. This type of space might look familiar in London as well, considering the British Empire's influence on Hawaiian history and the tourism of nowadays. 

The proposed building is shaped by the surroundings, with facades parallel to the shore of Serpentine Lake and the Jubilee Greenway, carefully placed behind an existent raw of trees. One elongated triangular roof, cladded in dark wood, floats above perimetral glazed walls. The entrance, bordered by a service desk on the left and a coat room on the right, frames the view towards the lake inviting the visitors to step in. It is followed by a window seating area in close proximity to a small coffee bar. Sliding between tree trunks, the reading lounge, narrows towards the east corner. This relaxed and atmospheric space, shaded by tree crowns, induces a contemplative state well suited for long, undisturbed reading sessions. Here, sitting comfortable in a garden-like chair one can enjoy the broad landscape blending with the interior. Adjacent round and rectangular tables may be used for writing or team working. On the west side, the library features a multipurpose room, where lectures or group readings may take place. Complete with a separate entrance, an outdoor terrace and a wide projection wall, this room can accommodate around 200 people. 

 For such a sensitive location, a prefabricated timber construction would be mostly suited. Elements would be gradually transported and assembled reducing the impact on site. A carefully controlled construction process will reduce building time and will avoid unnecessary cutting of existent trees. Timber panel surfaces offer good acoustic performance for sound transmission and have a natural pleasant aspect, therefore eliminating the need of additional interior finishings.

1. Wood cladded roof

2. Ceiling beams 3.5m above the floor

3. Columns  and structural  ribs holding a perimetral beam
4. Street level space 1522sqm