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2014 MCHAP.emerge

Villanueva Public Library

Carlos Meza, Alejandro Pinyol, Germán Ramírez, Miguel Torres

Villanueva, Colombia

July 2007


Carlos Meza, Alejandro Pinyol, Germán Ramírez, Miguel Torres


Juan Harker, Unión Temporal Quimper


Ministerio de Cultura de Colombia


Nicolás Cabrera, Alejandro Pinyol


The brief of the project demanded a public library, but the scale of the metropolitan strategy and the landscape that surrounded it, demanded a different scale and a techincal simplicity. The regional scale is achieved thru a monumental public square, because it´s not just a square for the town where it stands but specially for the metropolitan area. The technical aspect had to achieve a sense of idiosincracy and the inclusion of local craftmanship, the result was a proposal of two opposite shapes, with the minimum details so after the structure was completed local craftmanship could be involved, using local materials such as wood from reforestation forests and stones from rivers, both commonly used in local buildings and infrastructures. Even though we hoped to create a monumental building, we also wanted it to convey a local, crafted product.


The Library is located in Villanueva, a city of recent history and framed in a unique region characterized by vast landscape of the eastern plains of Colombia and near the foothills of the Andean Cordillera, located on a plateau in order to take advantage of the winds region and dominate the landscape from a privileged position. Villanueva is an example grid structured urban plan for a decumano and a thistle, the first is the main vehicular access, and the second is a linear park, the library located at the intersection of two axes: the agora. It is a continuous city, compact, low-rise buildings with a strong presence of local vegetation. The customs of its inhabitants have been defined by the condition of belonging to the last phase of migration from different parts of the country, motivated by the desire to overcome the internal conflict in the promise of living the last frontier in a city that talks with the landscape, established rationally and with the need to build civic spaces for the manifestation of culture.


In Villanueva, the architectural design is clearly stated in the monolithic quality of a simple volume, easily recognizable and identifiable in its urban context. In its plan the public and private dimensions are distinctly separate. The closed volume houses activities relating to the intimate sphere of reading, while the public side of the library is located under a large woven roof made of local wood, in the shape of a square opening onto the town. The program of activities of the library houses not just the library, but also other activities such as education programs for the community: from public reading lessons, to workshops with the elderly, to music lessons, all aiming to build in a wide range of users, the local idiosincracy that takes shape in local festivities such as carnivals, expositions, and other activities that demand a constant and technical construction of all the people involved: that is the mission of the library, to help build the cultural aspects of the region. Even though the library fulfills the program demands, the sheltered public square houses the everyday activities of the region’s inhabitants.

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