The siting, in the lowest part of a ravine surrounded by taller buildings, exacted a specific solution for the roof, which remains visible to all. A large stone box is proposed whose roof, a horizontal plane also in stone, is converted into a public plaza, marked by a significative metal clocktower.

The box is excavated only to fill it with light, the main of these being a large courtyard to which the reading rooms open their northern facade. These rooms, in two floors, are articulated with a central axis in a simple “E” scheme. This main corridor is glazed in its entirety, like a lantern, creating interesting transparencies in conjunction with the spaces it connects. The reading room on the ground floor is in continuity with the courtyard, creating a space of accentuated horizontality. The triple height main hall gathers together all of the circulation, conveniently changing the level of its floor planes and precisely perforated to achieve diverse effects of light.

The intention, finally, is the creation of a stone box filled by light and silence.

Technical data

Architect: Alberto Campo Baeza. Location: Madrid, Spain. Competition: 1990.