Vila Franca De Xira - Public Library

CompanyMiguel Arruda Arquitectos Associados
Lead DesignerMiguel Arruda
Design Team Miguel Arruda Arquitectos Associados
PrizeArchitectural Design / Cultural Architecture

Vila Franca de Xira Public Library is located on the north bank of the Tagus River, on the site formerly occupied by a rice mill, hence its name "Factory of Words". The volumetric characteristics of the former factory, the proximity of the Tagus River and the desire to build for the local populacion a truly usable equipment, were the most crucial concepts in this library. In this sense, beyond the traditional areas, others with significant size were considered for children, coffee shop, exhibitions and a multifunctional auditorium . In order to be able to contribute to a more effective relationship of the users with the space, the different floors were intencionally overlapped in a staggered manner to ensure a clear visual contact between them, creating a vertical void, that is assumed as the perspectic reference element in the spatial concept of the library, and allowing each one to see and be seen, thus making them both spectator and actor. This "vertical space" is reinforced by a large triangular window, common to all floors, that establishes itself as main the main conection to the "outside world", being simultaneously a screen and a showcase of its content. We believe that the reading of the surrounding landscape through triangular and trapezoidal surfaces, contributes to develop the "act of observing" the natural and urban landscape that this building enjoys . We think therefore that this set of options contributes to greater and more effective democratization of the library space, in a perspective of making this equipment available to a wider range of users.