For the first time in many years, attention to libraries as a socio-cultural phenomenon was attracted by the Moscow program of their reorganization and several implemented projects by the SVESMI bureau and Boris Kupriyanov. They showed that it is not necessary to rebuild Soviet libraries, it is enough to add new functionality to them so that they become in demand in a modern city. The Dubna project of transformation of the Universal Library of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) named after Dmitry Blokhintsev, or simply "Blokhinka", was born in the same paradigm.
The problem of socialization of city dwellers exists in Dubna, as well as in the overwhelming majority of Russian cities, not excluding Moscow. Libraries, houses of culture, palaces of pioneers, which at one time were an important part of the system of Soviet urbanism, physically survived, but practically lost the role of social condensers. It turned out to be possible to restart the dying infrastructure, as the experience of the PANACOM bureau has shown, by doing several obvious things: "clean up" the space; make it multifunctional with the ability to host events of different formats; add a comfortable environment for pleasant reading and work and spend wifi.
According to the head of the bureau, Arseny Leonovich, the "platform for dispersal" was the coworking space that appeared in the reading room. All changes were originally made by the forces of enthusiasts, or as they say now - the local community. A suspended asbestos ceiling was dismantled in the reading room. “Another half of the same space was opened under it, and instead of a low flattened room, a single-nave hall with beautiful nine-meter concrete beams was created,” says Arseniy Leonovich. - I introduced the color, turned the designs of the pins into lamps, left the blackout curtains and a huge screen, and also brought here comfortable flip tables, which I had previously developed for the NAYADA competition …”.
By clearing the "layers of time" and removing the shelves of books, the project returned the reading room to that pure reading of the space that distinguished the library in its original design. The building was built in 1965 according to the project of Bulgarian architects (GAP - B. Iolov), in the form of international modernism. The library is built of clear geometric volumes; the light glazed rooms of the reading room face the courtyard with a fountain. The interiors were distinguished by the total design of the environment - everything was thought out inside, down to the chairs, shelves, armchairs, reception counters and holders for newspapers and pots.
The refurbished reading room quickly became a local community accumulator. The transforming furniture - octahedral upside-down tables, folding chairs, retractable screens and projectors, mobile partitions and walls for novelties - made it possible to quickly reformat it for various events - lectures, discussions, children's activities and concerts, and people flocked to Blokhinka. The library gave an impulse to revitalize the already middle-aged institute part of the city. And it all started with the fact that thanks to the design project of Panacom, she became recognizable. And in addition, it began to provide users with related services - that is, not only to provide free access to information, but also to perform the function of socializing residents.
The next stage of the library's transformation, according to Arseny Leonovich, could be the opening of the storage area. There is no longer any sense in dividing funds into a subscription and a reading room in the context of digital technologies; making them permeable, it would be possible to expand the comfortable environment for visitors who should be offered different formats of communication with books and among themselves, the architect is sure.
“There are dreams of modernizing the entire library. After the reading room, I want to take up the hall, put benches on the street, equip the summer garden space for holding open lectures or exhibitions, connect the life of this new community center with the urban environment and add related services - for example, a cafe. The plans include a full-fledged project for the reconstruction of all socially significant premises on the ground floor, so that the theater, as they say, starts with a hanger."