The municipality of Milan has announced the results of the competition to design the new European Library of Information and Culture (BEIC) in Milan, Italy. The winning team is composed of Onsite Studio, baukuh, Yellow Office, SCE Project, Studio Mistretta, Starching, Stain Engineering, Dotdotdot, (ab)Normal, Atmos Lab. The new building, situated in the Porta Vittoria area of Milan, aims to go beyond the traditional functions of a library to become a laboratory for the tools necessary to create contemporary culture.
The proposed building consists of two naves with a trapezoidal cross-section. The intensively glazed structure offers an explicitly industrial figure, thus translating the productive atmosphere required through the brief. Reminiscent partly of a greenhouse, station, and factory, the building embraces its role as a laboratory, a sober, open, and ambitious structure at the service of the Milanese cultural life. The activities center around active learning processes, which are understood as opportunities to construct objects, invent devices, and make things.
The two main parts of the program are accommodated in the two naves: the northern volume houses the Forum, the southern one the Departments. While the two volumes have the same envelope, their interiors are adapted to the specificity of their designated activities: the first one is lighter and open towards the square, and the second one is more dense, reserved, and silent. The two bodies are connected through the ground floor, which contains the entrance spaces, the exhibition and event spaces, the access to the vertical circulation. The auditorium and Imaginarium are housed in a third smaller volume, while storage spaces, equipped with robotic equipment, are placed on the basement floors.
At its top, the northern volume houses a large greenhouse populated by pavilions; the southern volume opens into a terrace enclosing the reading room. The two volumes are uniformly clad in a metal and glass envelope. The façade allows light to be captured and transformed into solar energy. The large entrance space, with the full height vertical circulation and greenhouse at the top level functions as a large Windergarden, naturally ventilated in summer and capable of storing solar energy in winter. The vertical circulation also allows natural light to reach the ground floor, while shading devices help to adapt the building to the exterior conditions.
The jury was chaired by architect Stefano Boeri and composed of architect Jocelyn Helen Froimovich Hes, Rosa Maiello, engineer Jhionny Pellicciotta, and architect Cino Zucchi. A total f 44 proposals entered the competition. The winning team is led by Onsite Studio, a Milan-based architectural office that also designed the Pirelli Learning Center and Base - Center For Culture And Creativity.