PLOVDIV – Although the wooden library by Studio 8 ½ was placed inside the abandoned 16th century Turkish bath for less than one week, it set an example for how new and old architecture can complement one another and introduce new uses.

This was the objective of the Art Today Association, when it assigned the project to Studio 8 ½ for the Urban Dreams Contemporary Art Festival, which took place in the vibrant Bulgarian city of Plovdiv from 20 October to 30 November.

Placed right in the centre of the hammam – as the Turkish baths are called – the installation consisted of a sitting area, a bookshelf and a multimedia point, fulfilling the main functions of a library.

Circular, like the bath’s main hall, the library was made entirely of wood, left in its natural colour to contrast with the old stone and brick surface of the surrounding space. The form was spiral-like, directing the gaze to the grandiose 13-m-high cupola of the building. A simple but well-designed lighting system stressed the building’s refined details and provided light to the installation, creating a discrete and sophisticated unity between the two.  

Photos courtesy of Studio 8 ½