Project TeamJose Oliveira, Vesna Karamehmedovic
From the architect. The new Condeixa-a-Nova Public Library, a town near the historic university city of Coimbra, is a recent project, sponsored by the local authority, and planned to integrate an important equipments area of the town, such as schools, sports fields and parks.
The building is designed with a single floor, and comprises two parallel long volumes raised from the ground, being articulated through an internal distribution corridor, on top of which lies the entry service of the library. The importance of each one of the volumes is given by its size, but also by its coating: stone in the noblest volume of the reading rooms and white plaster in the service volume. A wide steps and a gentle ramp leading to the platform where lies the public entrance of the library, forms a sculptural set that helps defining the main facade of the building.
The project is based on a clear and functional distribution, allowing the library being organized and understood by its users. In the biggest volume are located the public areas, while the narrower body contains all the dependencies of internal services. The whole system is fully computerized and accessible to people with some type of disability.
The spatial hierarchy is also enhanced by the different scales used in windows, marking the different characteristics of the spaces of adults, children, and services. The first clearly looks over the surrounding green space, offering generous south openings that are efficiently controlled by a metallic brise-soleil. The remaining spaces have more punctual windows, avoiding the aggressive west sunlight by adjusting its size to the nature of its activities. A natural lighting system, crossing the roof in the form of conical skylights, complements the more traditional forms of lighting, marking the most important spaces of the building with light sets that vary throughout the day.