Kéré Architecture, Gando Primary School Library, Gando, Burkina Faso 2001
The elliptical building forms a physical link between the primary school and its extension. In addition to being an educational infrastructure for children, the library is also intended as a community centre for the village, through which the basic school curriculum can be supplemented with lessons involving young and old. Simple but effective technologies characterise the work: the ceiling is made of locally produced terracotta pots sawn in half, on which the concrete slab of the floor is cast and through which light filters; the projecting corrugated metal roof with polycarbonate sheets positioned above the openings offers protection from the sun and rain.
Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus, Central Library Seattle, USA 2004
In the Seattle Public Library system consisting of 26 branches, many of them historic, the main building is the Central Library. The complex with its angular and faceted forms, with its diamond-textured glass and steel façades, stands like a monolith in the heart of the city, configuring itself as a civic space for the circulation of knowledge and offering an innovative way of organising the paper collection.
El Equipo Mazzanti, Parque Biblioteca Espana, Medellín, Colombia 2005
Located in one of the most socially degraded and conflict-ridden areas of the city, the library was conceived not only as a cultural infrastructure but also as a tool to provide equal opportunities for social and economic development to the local population. The complex consists of three monolithic buildings with multifaceted shapes that respectively house a library, an auditorium and a community centre and that emerge from a platform with the function of a public square. The black ceramic cladding of the volumes dialogues with the backdrop of the mountains behind.
Renzo Piano Building Workshop, The Morgan Library, New York, USA 2006
The challenge of integrating with new public spaces and storage areas, for an extension of about 10,000 square meters, the historic complex of the Morgan Library located in the heart of Manhattan and consisting of three buildings - the building designed by McKim, Mead & White (1906), the annex (1928) and the Morgan House - was taken up by RPBW with the intention of harmoniously relating contemporaneity and pre-existing. The project involves the construction of three new steel and glass pavilions: one on Madison Avenue which houses a new square, an exhibition area on the first floor and a reading room on the second; one in the shape of a cube on 36th street where the permanent exhibitions are located; one adjacent to the Morgan House which houses the offices and service spaces. A large glass roof that illuminates the spaces connects existing buildings and newly built spaces, as parts of the same exhibition. Many rooms - including the Gilder Lehrman Hall, a modular and flexible auditorium with a capacity of 299 seats - are located underground.
Yi Architects, Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart, Germany 2011
The building is located in Mailänder Platz, an area undergoing major urban regeneration aimed at transforming a suburban area into a focal point of the city. The complex, with its rigorous cubic shape and fronts characterised by a tight structural grid of light grey concrete and frosted glass bricks, evokes both the Rubik's Cube and Boullé's "Cenotaph for Newton", from which it draws inspiration in the shape of the entrance. The light colour palette and the light filtering through the large skylight at the top create an ethereal and pacifying atmosphere.
Helen & Hard, Library and Cultural House, Vennesla, Norway 2011
A library that is an epicentre for the dissemination of culture and a focal point for community life: this is how this architecture was conceived, which also hosts concerts, theatre performances, children's activities and art exhibitions. The building, inserted between two existing bodies in the village square, is characterised entirely by a wood and glass structure. The 27 sinuously shaped wooden ribs define the geometry of the roof and punctuate the bays of the vast open space housing the studio areas.
Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Hertziana Library, Rome, Italy 2013
A harmonious balance between the contemporary and the past: this is how the Hertziana Library, originally founded in 1913 and located in Palazzo Zuccari on the Pincio Hill, is now\ home to the Max Planck Research Institute dedicated to the history of art. The renovation intervention involves the creation of a glassed-in courtyard, with a central skylight onto which the various floors look out. The choice of materials - from the white painted bricks, to the marble slabs of the floors, to the metal fixtures, to the large windows - gives an aura of lightness and luminosity to the renovated rooms, contrasting with the shady and decorated character of the historical pre-existence.
Herzog & De Meuron, Feltrinelli Foundation Library, Milan, Italy 2016
With an immense library and archive heritage, Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli is one of Europe's leading centres of documentation and research in the field of historical, political, economic and social sciences. The new headquarters in Via Pasubio, in the Porta Volta area undergoing a massive urban regeneration projects, are a contemporary "agorà" for discussion, relations and civic and cultural promotion: the sober "cue" in exposed concrete and glass with a "gabled" volume houses, in addition to the group's administrative offices, a Multipurpose Room accessible to the public for studying, working and attending events, and a Reading Room on the fifth floor open to the public completely free of charge.
Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia, Beghi Public Library, La Spezia, Italy 2016
The renovation and expansion of the former Fitram area (a disused industrial area of the local public transport company) includes the construction of a new volume with a contemporary profile, grafted onto the historical one, which houses the library on three levels: a building with a parallelepiped shape externally excavated and with vivid chromatic hues that internally encloses reading rooms irradiated with light.
X + Living, Hangzhou Zhongshuge, Binjiang District, China 2016
Not a library but a bookshop that is a dreamlike refuge from the din of the city: this is how the architects conceived the design of the new Zhongshuge Hangzhou bookshop inside the Star Avenue shopping centre. A succession of enveloping spaces accompanies the visitor: from the ethereal and immaculate entrance area with shelving integrated into the pilotis, to rooms with more cavernous tones where, amidst lights and mirror effects, the perceptive experience becomes surreal and alienating.
Foster + Partners, House of Wisdom, Sharjah, UAE 2021
The complex, designed to celebrate Sharjah as the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2019, consists of a transparent two-storey rectilinear volume on which a cantilevered roof 'floats' on all sides. The large overhang of the roof, together with fixed aluminium screens, shadows and filters the sun. The interior is characterised by an aura of lightness and brightness. On the ground floor, in addition to the double-height reception area with a planted central courtyard evoking an oasis, there are exhibition spaces, a cafeteria, an educational space for children, the archive and a reading area; on the upper floor are exhibition areas and reading rooms, including a prayer room and a women-only area.
Adjaye Associates, Winter Park Library and Events Centre, Winter Park, Florida, USA 2021
Located at the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Park, the new civic and cultural centre consists of three pink concrete pavilions: a two-storey library, an event centre with a rooftop terrace and a portico that unifies the three structures. The arches, inspired by the vernacular architecture of the region, strongly characterise the façades of the buildings, while the vaulted roofs and large windows create an enveloping, uninterrupted relationship between interior and exterior.