Library in the Labyrinth

  • Justin Wadge, B.Arch. 2015
  • Hometown Lyme, Connecticut
  • Class ARCH 8912 Independent Design Thesis
  • Instructor Associate Professor Vincent Mulcahy
    Visiting Associate Professor Jim Williamson

This thesis goes beyond the tradition of designing an architecture that produces a narrative; it is also a narrative that produces an architecture. I look to the work of John Hejduk and Jorge Luis Borges as inspirations for producing an imaginative work that walks the line between what is known and unknown. This line is the journey from a reminiscent reality to an intimate reading room. Library in the Labyrinth is the maze that takes us to a place where the narrative of a book can flourish.

It is a series of reading rooms embedded in a microcosm of Venice. In both the design process and the sequence of space, the project traces existing paths through the city and threads them together to produce a maze. Continuous montages of perspective paintings are intertwined and confronted, then extruded to become physical spaces. These inner streetscapes are rotated and scaled into the site; they discover interior courtyards and views across the rooftops that were previously hidden. The space is inspired by the routes that led to it, yet begins to escape the surroundings. The Library is reimagined as a mental sequence of space from reality to an abstract place beyond, the journey to getting lost in a book.

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Justin Wadge