Fernando del Paso Library

Library + Media Center

The new technologies have surpassed the traditional concept of the library, connecting us literally with the whole world, making the process of information-gathering more democratic. This new environment demands a new library model. The library is nowadays a multidirectional node, dynamic, and accessible, it is a learning space, the interface between user and information. This mutations and evolutions of the typology of the library leads to a new formal genesis, inviting to a multiple conception of these architectonic spaces according to the progressive complexity of the cultural scenarios. This takes us to adopt a multidimensional approach over the reality, creating parallel realities, where the architectonic program is mixed as superimposed layers, producing a diversity of events that enriches the habitat. The preceding paragraphs are the conceptual basis for the project, negating the traditional process of architecture making in search of a new approach. We decided to lose the logical, rational control over the project in order to give chaos and randomness an informing role during the first stage of the design process, allowing us to leave behind the old deterministic and Cartesian paradigm and bringing the subconscious to the surface. This was done by a random selection of pieces that were thrown to a scanner, once scanned the resulting images were deformed and manipulated until a specific image resonated in our subconscious, at that particular moment the playful process stopped to give way to the program.
Once the initial scheme has arose, the logic appears through the program as a catalyst between the apparent chaos and the needs of a university library, making a symbiotic relation art-function.

Operative description.
The new building is designed to function as a library as well as a media center, with 5,346 square meters and acapacity for 800 people simultaneously. The scheme of the University Center is asymmetric, composed of lineal buildings, due to the use of the “CAPECE” construction system. The lines of the University Center are the triggering impulse of the first scheme of the library. The library is composed of three programmatic bands, colliding containers of the different architectonic spaces, which are built with three different materials, each of them according to their specific program.
The concrete band contains the whole 80,000 volumes of the library’s collection, as a hidden treasure protected from the exterior. It is a wall of books. The red brick volume evokes the historic academic buildings, besides being a regional material. This is a refracted band that holds the reading areas and the cyber-cafe. The last element is a metallic volume, designed to accommodate the media center at one end, and the circulation ramps at the other. The disposition of the colliding bands create gathering spaces at the exterior that function as social condensers that fosters the events that surrounds the building. To get in the building is to confront us to the printed material, the concrete band that was completely closed, is now totally opened to the main space of the library and welcomes the library users. The lobby offers basic services such as an information desk, copy machines, online catalogs and an informal reading area. This lobby distributes to the bands of the project. A vertical and horizontal circulation system, with ramps, stairs and hanging corridors, links the different places of
the building. This system is designed to be 100% accessible to people with some kind of disabilities according to the U.S. norms. The reading area to the East, has a mezzanine of cubicles which forms a doubled level with a glass enclose opened to the North and faced with the solid concrete wall of books. Behind the wall of books in the redbrick band, it is located a reading area and the Cyber-Cafe on the first level, and the individual cubicles in a very quiet environment on the second level. The media center is located at the higher end of the metallic band. We can get there through the ramps, which ends over the wall of books, evoking the information technology evolution beyond the written material. The two levels of the media center are linked through the ramps and the stairs that climbs a thin concrete wall to the North of the building. The Media Center is the programmatic climax of the project, the sublimation of the information technology materialized in a distinctive architectonic space. This building has been designed to render an important impulse to “La Cienega” region, placing it into the infobahn as an information hub.

Ground Floor Plan
1st Level
2nd Level

During Construction