The new municipal library in the Villaverde neighbourhood of Madrid plays a special role as a catalyst for local life and an element of infrastructure, while also acting as a platform for local cultural policy.
The building needs to be both a meeting place and a location for collective activities, while also working in step with the neighbourhood.
The project provides a new library model that plays a clear social role, supporting learning and training and promoting equality.
Based on the principle of flexibility in terms of space and use, accessibility, and maintaining a close connection with outside spaces, we have created a compact building that makes a clear distinction between the spaces for youth and adult activities. That distinction is demonstrated through the two separate structures that share a central access point via Calle Miguel Rosales. The two structures open out into two separate squares and culminate with the roof space, which is designed as a multi-purpose area for both performance and rest, while also providing a solution for the facility’s infrastructure services.
The public funding requirements are conveyed using Adolf Loos’s Raumplan concept, where spaces flow into each other via ramps and platforms, creating a spiral journey that culminates in the open roof-terrace.
Shapes are compact in a quest for an emphatic and clear urban presence, acting as a transition between the aforementioned scales.
The difference between the youth and adult libraries is expressed through the surrounding ventilated facade comprising ceramic panels, whose different colours and gradings also convey the playful and shifting nature of the building, further highlighted by the internal lighting.
The design also includes a garden library with greenery in the two squares next to the youth and adult areas, and on the southern and northern facades. Strips of greenery are also integrated along the basement level, while greenery is also a feature on the roof and plays a bioclimatic role.
The building includes a ventilated facade with a surface made up of ceramic panels that act as a vibrant polychrome light-activated skin.
Using the base colours of red and blue to distinguish between the youth and adult structures, the design provides a grading of tones and colours (with backlighting option) superimposed on a neutral base.
The visual impression pursued is one of oscillation and almost dematerialisation, which seems to change as the observer moves around the structure.
The ventilated facade solution using ceramic panels, fitted on to a supporting substructure and thermal insulation, is a financially viable and energy efficient solution, which also continues with the tradition of using ceramic enclosures in the development of neighbourhoods such as Villaverde.
A ceramic skin that is vibrant, light and ever-changing.