Thousand Suns Library
Location: Madrid, Spain.
Client: Madrid City Council.
Status: In progress.
The library emerges as an opportunity to give full response to the landscape, social and environmental challenges of the place: inside the shadow of the adjacent block, the project is proposed as a collection of artificial suns generating, on the one hand, an indirect light atmosphere, warm and vibrant towards the interior, and on the other, a digital screen based on small Led luminaires embedded in the façade as an interactive communication tool. As a respond to this intermediate situation, the project is considered itself as a friendly transition, generating new public spaces adapted to the scale of the streets and the neighborhood, a common place, open and sunny where to stay during the winter, a cool and shaded ground to rest during the summer. As the socio-economic data and the new social demands were really well described by the Madrid City Council in all the competition documents, the library is organized in two overlapped architecture sheds, the Cultural Shed and the Social Shed, both designed as an open infrastructure with autonomous access.
Urban Design: transitions.
Miguel Solas street widens its sidewalk in a remarkable way, equipping itself with new urban furniture, living spaces and deciduous vegetation in connection with the neighboring gardens located in front of the library. The façade of the building is fragmented by introducing two patios as green terraces over the street, which allows the new public space to become sunny in winter, increasing the space and visual width of the street. A pedestrian crossing at the level of the sidewalk allows access to the Cultural Shed to Ruperto Santos Rojo Street and the existing residential neighbourhood, an urban carpet as a formal invitation for the public.
Around this upper access, a series of small-scale living spaces are generated, meeting points and places for reading or just resting that suggest the scale and atmosphere of the inner courtyards inside these humble housing blocks (interesting urban lesson from the periphery in the 70s). Down the street the access to the Social Shed is located, this time from a vibrant new created square, the Biblio-Plaza, equipped with a small botanical garden, a stage and a small warehouse, which will allow the celebration of popular festivals and cultural events co-managed by the neighbours themselves with the library as a supporting infrastructure.
The building is designed as a simple volume, humble in its physical configuration but enormously ambitious when it faces the social and environmental challenges, a comfortable and contemporary commonplace, a civil infrastructure according with the neighbourhood and its citizenship, strengthening the sense of belonging of its inhabitants and with the aim of improving not only its physical environment, but its cultural baggage and life expectancy as well. Undoubtedly, for this proposal to have the expected impact, a participatory process must be established not only during the project and interior furnishing stage, but also during the subsequent management and cultural programming of the library.