Located in Comano Terme, the Giudicarie Esteriori library occupies a former tobacco shed
Comano Terme is a small municipality in Trentino-Alto Adige. It’s made up of a group of hamlets set in woods, thermal areas, and farmland that share important services with five other member municipalities in a valley with a catchment area of some 8,400 residents and tourists.
An architectural and functional rethink of a former tobacco drying shed from the 1930s led to the planning of a new library. The architects from Alterstudio Partners, who oversaw the entire residential and commercial project, also designed and oversaw the construction of the Giudicarie Esteriori library.
The library was designed adjacent to the existing volume together with an open courtyard off a square above a parking lot. The new building is intended to establish a continuity with its setting from both the urban and architectural perspectives. The different floors of the library’s public spaces were designed to connect to its sloping site at different levels, with a double entrance on the lower eastern side and the main entrance on the higher western side within the courtyard. The new building creates a dialogue with the contiguous historical building by interpreting its traditional double pitched roof through a contemporary lens. Horizontal slats of burnished copper seamlessly cover the façades and roof, while large transparent windows alternate with large solid sections, giving the building a material and geometric uniformity.
Occupying 8900 square feet (830 m2) on three floors, the library has its main entrance on the middle floor, which hosts a reception and orientation area, an information point, and the new releases and fiction sections. This floor overlooks the floor below via a full-height void on the shorter side. Stairs run along the glazed façade by the square, connecting the three levels of the building. The basement floor hosts a study room, restrooms accessible from outside, and a flexible open space for hosting events, meetings, and book releases. The top floor is the non-fiction section, with the books on double partitions that run the length of the corridor to a terrace that overlooks the square. Along with the books, the top floor has spaces for children and teens, a games area, and a reserved daycare facility.
Elisabetta Bianchi’s evocative and dreamlike illustrations both accompany and watch readers as they move through the library, contributing to making it a welcoming and intimate place that promotes both reading and community.
>>> You have until July 14 to register for THE PLAN Award 2022, an annual international award for excellence in architecture, interior design, and urban planning with 20 categories, including CULTURE, dedicated to museums, libraries and cultural centres
Location: Comano Terme (Trento)
Gross Floor Area: 1.200 m2
Architect: Alterstudio Partners
Interior Design: Alterstudio Partners
Visual Design: Alterstudio Partners
Supervision on worksite: Massimo Bonenti, Ufficio Tecnico del Comune di Comano Terme
Structures: Martino Bridi
Electrical Plant and Special Plants: Nicola Maffei
Mechanical Plant: Marco Pedretti
Library Design: Aldo Collizzolli
Illustrations and Graphic Design: Elisabetta Bianchi
Glass Façade and Windows: Schüco
Copper Façade: Alpewa
Photography by Simone Ronzio / Alterstudio Partners
All images courtesy of Alterstudio Partners