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Parque Biblioteca España

Giancarlo Mazzanti Arquitectos

Parque Biblioteca España
By Francesco Pagliari -

Inaugurated in 2007, the public library “Parque Biblioteca España” in the Columbian city of Medellín combines symbol and function: it bears witness to a community’s desire for social renewal, and indicates how inequalities can be lessened by spreading knowledge in contemporary society. Giancarlo Mazzanti’s winning project in the 2005 competition held by the Medellín city council reveals a deeply pondered view of architecture’s role in society.
His architecture resonates with both the immediate urban fabric and the vast plain stretching out below. Its materials and form have an osmotic relationship with their context. The three huge blocks making up the library complex stand out against the skyline of a city sprawling over undulating slopes enclosed by the craggy summits of an Andes mountain chain. Rising amidst a jumble of makeshift houses, mainly in brick, their arrangement resembles the distant mountain range.
The three buildings house different functions: a library, auditorium, and training centre, respectively. Set on an artificial platform, they stand as one compact system offering a public service. A pinewood platform creates passageways between and access routes to the buildings. On the side facing the mountains, the walkway opens out into a sort of collective plaza for community socialising.
The buildings rise like closed jagged volumes, their sharp angles emphasising their solid mass. Geometry and outer cladding turn the complex into a single unit. The oblique planes of the multi-faceted façades create unexpected spaces between one building and another, giving rise to an ingenious play of light and shadow, views and architectural relations. Protected by the overhang of the building, deeply recessed entrances take on symbolic importance. The translucent glazed doorways are differently coloured (yellow, green and red) to denote each building’s function.
The dark hues of the closely set opaque stone cladding lend the elevations an...

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