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Azure January February 2023 issue cover

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Portable Reading Rooms Competition

Despite the growing presence of digital devices, the demand for physical books remains as strong as ever, and with good reason. Research has shown that readers of printed books absorb and remember more information about the plot of a book than those using e-readers, likely due to the tactile sensation of handling a physical book, turning its pages and feeling how far you have progressed. The second annual Portable Reading Rooms architecture competition is seeking designs for a small reading structure that could be embedded within existing public spaces in multiple locations around the world.

The reading rooms would have to function as an intimate meditative space in which people can read and exchange books. The structure itself would need to be highly versatile so that it could be located in various locations, and could function in any climate and any season. 

Though their functionality could change throughout the year – operating as a simple book exchange box during colder months and a more immersive and interactive reading experience during milder weather – the reading rooms should have the potential to enrich the community in which it is placed.

Participants of the Portable Reading Rooms competition have total creative freedom when conceptualizing the design and functioning of the reading rooms, in fact, they need not even be a physical room. As long as they are a welcoming and nourishing environment that encourages reading, the reading rooms can be as open or closed off as you like.

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