Text description provided by the architects. The Municipal Library of Greve in Chianti, designed by mdu architetti, is located in the heart of the Chianti region, in the province of Florence, in Tuscany. The building is located at the entrance of the city in a former industrial area, near the Greve river.
The project represents the attempt to evoke and re-interpret the elements of the landscape through architecture: the Chianti region is a “mental” landscape as well as physical, an internationally well-known region that is frozen in a stereotyped icon very often.
The architecture of the new library captures the “profound” elements of the landscape and tries to catch their aesthetic essence: the parallel signs of the rows in the vineyards, that creates effects of visual vibration on the Chianti hills, are brought by the project to an abstract geometry of lines and variations of light and shade, emphasized by the use of a single matherial, the Terracotta of Impruneta.
The architectural image of the Library can be summarized in two themes: the solidity of the plinth, made of travertine blocks and the lightness of the overhanging terracotta volume. The plinth seems heavy, solid, close, but its interior opens in a wide double-height entrance foyer, characterized by a monumental bookcase that separates the entrance to other spaces dedicated to cultural activities. The upper floor is the reading room, inside the terracotta volume, that overlooks the double height void of the entrance foyer.
The intensity of the natural light and its diffusion inside the reading room is guaranteed by the external facades, characterized by a terracotta brise soleil. These facades appear enriched with slits, textures and rithms full of light and shade effects, creating a fascinating material variation. This particular architectural solution turnes the upper volume to a grand “terracotta lace” and gives it the capability to hold and to reflect the natural light following a variable rhythm, that depends both on the layering of the terracotta elements in the different facades, both according to the external atmospheric conditions.
At the sunset the terracotta volume lights from the interior revealing its delicate texture made of voids and hollows, becoming a large “lantern”, a contemporary sign in the Chianti landscape.