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denise visser


the reimagined 21st century library: liminal space as the catalyst to the creation of knowledge


nodes in longmarket street, cape town

liminality, nodes, layers, storytelling, knowledge


The dissertation stems from an interest of the city as a place that can be explored, to introduce you to different worlds. It explores how the library of the 21 st century can become an in-between liminal space into which the isolated activities in the buildings and the temporary street inject.

Inspiration is drawn from the book 'The Starless Sea' written by Erin Morgenstern in 201 9. The book explores the notion of a sanctuary underground, which is dedicated to storytelling. The sanctuary is entered through hidden doors all over the world. The doors connect different rooms, times, and stories. The stories are portrayed in different ways.

Each person becomes the narrator of a collection of stories and it changes in every room they encounter. The library is a series of nodes throughout Longmarket Street where knowledge is created in different ways and the story of the city is displayed as something ever-changing, created by the individuals within it.

The nodes of the library become living rooms in the city, the safe space where many activities and a variety of activities can take place at the same time. It is the liminal place consisting of adaptable layers between public and private, individual and community, inside and outside, real and imaginary, fixed and temporary.

The nodes throughout Longmarket Street will house functions for both the public and the building it connects to and is drawing from its immediate context. Each node becomes unique and tells a story of the city in conjunction with the rest of the street.

The anchor building situated in the Bo-Kaap explored in detail, how private functions inject into a central meeting place to create knowledge in ways such as storytelling, performance and making


narrated presentation


visual presentation

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dissertation document