The building of the Municipal Library and Archives Grândola by ER Studio aims to be a timeless reference, an icon that represents not only the past and present of the town of Grândola, but also their future ambitions. Their idea of the Monolith reminds us of the past buildings that have withstood the time, a library and an archive are nothing more than a large repository of knowledge that makes the bridge between past and present. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Time is the biggest test of the architecture. It highlights what is good and therefore ultimately dictates the disappearance of what is bad. The reference buildings that today reach us are robust, noble and solid that has withstood the test of time and, now, not only can tell us much of our history as a people and culture but also assumes them self as a mark or references within the communities where they operate.
The Water Tank
Making a building reference is a process involving search and sensitivity. Place an object mischaracterized and expect to fulfill its function of reference might be a failure if we do not act in regard for the context where it belongs. The landscape offers the first look at the magnificence of the water reservoir, a reference for those who live there and for those visiting Grândola. As a result of climatic conditions became necessary to store a precious asset for the population. We take this concept in the development of Library and Archives since, in essence, they are nothing more than a reservoir of knowledge and knowing.
The fusion between the idea of Monolith and the Reservoir, translates into a solid element, compact, which takes its nobility with sobriety, and relates directly to the population because it rises over a cross-structure, allowing the occasional glimpse of the population inside, without totally revealing what goes on their content, arousing curiosity and desire to enter.
The proposal is developed exclusively on the given lot to the deployment of the building, in a program divided into three floors: the underground floor (designed for car parking and technical areas), ground floor (public program and distribution of the building) and the first floor (public program, storage areas and administrative / technical). In order to solve the whole program in all three floors, it became necessary to create two middle floors between the ground floor and first floor, were it was placed actual space of the library (Children and Adults) and all internal program, for the exclusive use of employees. With this solution, the building does not exceed the quota required by the contracting authority, and achieved through the use of quotas involving work as a whole.
The main entrance is carried out by the side of Republic Square, taking advantage of its scale and its public nature to serve as a gateway. The flow coming from the pedestrian street Dr. Jose Pereira Barradas is also routed to the entrance area through a ramp that invites those who cross the street to discover the building. The Atrium share the same level as the square in front of it, causing entering the building an natural act of one who circulates in this same square. While by the exterior the building resembles a large block of stone, inside of it we are overwhelmed by a great light from the sky, enhanced by the double height that receive us. This great light makes us feel that we are entering a special place, different from the reality outside.
The act of entering the reading spaces must be assumed as a special moment. Thus, subtle two ramps respectively link libraries of both adults and children to the lobby, making your journey a natural process of movement, always accompanied by a central courtyard. The transition effect is thus achieved, as the sealing of respective rooms.
Light as Material
The lighting of interior spaces became part of the concept for the development of the whole project. If the building’s exterior takes on a volumetric solid as a large block of stone, the interior spaces should be wide and with a great natural lighting, thus avoiding large energy costs with artificial lighting. This contradiction between exterior / interior stimulates strong feelings as we will discovering the inside of the library.
Both reading spaces have great natural lighting from the outdoor patio and the main facade bays, allowing a transparency between inside / outside. Therefore allowing a controlled peeking of the building’s interior by its exterior, as well as allowing an consciousness of how the library spaces work.