Library España, Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo Colombia Building, Project Photo, Design Property Image

Library España, Medellín, Colombia

Library España Colombia, Medellín design by Giancarlo Mazzanti Architect

18 Apr 2014 – larger photos added to this page

Colombian Library Building

Architect: Mazzanti Arquitectos, Bogotá, Colombia

Location: Medellín, Colombia, South America


Library España Colombia

Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo Colombia

Background and requirements

The Project is located on one of the hillsides of the city that have been affected by harsh violence since the 1980s because of several drug traffic networks that operate within its perimeter. It is part of the government’s social master plan program that aims to give equal economic and social opportunities to the population.

The program asked for a building with library, training rooms, an administration and an auditorium on a sole building. The proposal fragmented the program in three groups: The library, the training rooms, and the auditorium; then it joined them with a platform on the first floor that allows flexibility but at the same time autonomy of different activities. This platform helped improve public participation as you can easily see the many options you have when you enter the building.

Library España Colombia

Justification of the adopted solution

Medellín is geographically mountainous:
The city is located in the north of Los Andes mountain ridge, in a deep valley sorrounded by steep topography. This geography defines the identity and the image of the city. The project aims to interpret this identity, it intends to integrate itself into the landscape by becoming pat of it.

Library España Colombia

Architecture as landscape:
Much more than a building, the project proposes the construction of a topography that belongs to the valley. It is a mechanism of organization of the program and the whole of its surroundings, showing the unknown directions of the irregular mountain contours, not like a metaphor, but like an organization of form in the site, a folded building cut like the mountains that sorround it. An artificial landscape that redefines the folded mountain structure in form and space, nullifying the idea of landscape as background and encouraging the ambiguity building-landscape.

Library España Colombia

Justification of its urban insertion

The site:
The Project is organized in two structures: the first one is the building – landscape (rocks) and the second one is a platform that integrates and transforms the covered space into a square that looks into the valley; this way, the building is empowered as a meeting place, multiplying the connections and letting it develop as a reference point.

Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo Medellín, Colombia

The building as an icon:
The site is composed by small brick houses, product of auto construction; and residue of green areas as a result of the impossibility to construct on it. This organizational system produces a uniform texture of the city and defines its landscape. Like an icon, the building keeps the tension that already exists. Geography becomes the element of hierarchy; and architecture as the epitome of texture.

Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo Medellín interior

The Project is noticeable from a big part of the city, allowing it to define itself as the symbol of a new Medellín, as a way of making people feel identified and embrace the building as their own. In its present state, the building is one of the touristic attractions in the city and one of the most visited by tourists and locals alike.

Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo Medellín, Colombia by Giancarlo Mazzanti

Additional Aspects:

Ambient and atmosphere
In addition to make the an icon, the first premise was to develop a biulding that, through its interior design, could de-contextualize the individual from the poverty that sorrounds him creating a warm atmosphere based on natural light, generating a great ambient for study and lecture. This is the reason why the building takes a timid look into the city trough the small windows that show the relation with the valley, letting light enter from the top of the building.

Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo Medellín, Colombia by Architect Giancarlo Mazzanti

Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo – Building Information

Architect: GIANCARLO MAZZANTI & Arquitectos Ltda.
Structural Engineer : Sergio Tobon, Alberto Aschner
Management/Client & Contractor: Alcaldía de Medellín / Arquitectura y concretoTotal Budget: US 1.027 / mts2
Project Area: 2,960 sqm
Project title: Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo – Colombia
Winner: 2005
Designer: Giancarlo Mazzanti Architect
Architects: Juan Manuel Gil, Andrés Sarmiento, Pedro Saa, Gustavo Vásquez, Jorge Gómez, Lorena Galviz, Fredy Pantoja, Iván Ucros

Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo Medellín, Colombia by Giancarlo Mazzanti Architect

Photographs: Sergio Gómez, Lorenzo Castro

Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo Colombia images / information from Giancarlo Mazzanti Architect

Giancarlo Mazzanti

Location: Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo Colombia, Medellín, Colombia

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