©MORPHtopia 2022


The design of the new municipal library of Las Tablas in Madrid is the collision of two fundamental factors: (1) the physical reality of the place and (2) the social and collective reality of the neighbourhood. In relation to the first, the new urban structure of the block responds to a superposition of historical and geological layers, as well as the adjoining housing buildings, the linear green space and the train tracks. All this creates indicators and configurations without apparent recognizable meaning, but which are specific to the place, and are waiting to be deciphered. The uncovering of this hidden but inherent structures is the basis on which the new configuration of the plot is designed. In relation to the second, current urban developments of the so-called “closed blocks” lack any essence that creates city. There is no structure on which the neighbourhood can feel identified and / or represented. In this sense, the social and collective reality of such neighbourhoods is conspicuous by their absence. The objective of this proposal is based on creating the basic conditions on which to build a social relationship of its own, and for such purpose, symbolic calls and social sings are in used: the bear and the madroño (the symbols of the region of Madrid). The library must be more than a mere facility. It must generate a feeling of collective identification at the neighbourhood level on which to promote social encounter. The metaphor of the tree as a place where to meet is literally applied here. Thus, the new library is divided into three large sections:

1. Underground area. Taking advantage of the inclination of the terrain along the east-west axis, half-buried area contains the main access, information, administration, andarchives; as well as parking, storage areas and technical rooms.

2. The Park. The whole plot is open to the public and the dotational function is combined with new green and recreational areas. It is an space of encounter and relationship that connects through soft routes the four fronts of the plot. This strategy allows creating new relationships with the development of the kindergarten planned in the northern area and thus, be able to open the entire block to the neighborhood. Flaneurs, neighbors and users of the library coincide at different speeds in an open, common and flexible space. The East Plaza is an extension of Burguete Street and contains a series of green parterres and bleachers that make up an outdoor amphitheater. The West Plaza is partially covered by the tree, which allows to generate shadows and fresh spacess. This area expands and contracts creating continuous and open areas, and other other hand, others more intimate and compacted (small squares) to facilitate the variety of uses, events and situations. In between there are vegetable gardens, a fountain and the statue of the bear, as a symbol of collective identification.

3. The Tree. A network of steel bars composes the trunk and branches on which the main program of the library is located and it is partially covered by metal panels. The crown of the madroño is surrounded by an ETFE plastic membrane that adapts and modifies according to the different lighting and thermal comfort of the interior. The spaces are divided into three floors and follow specific acoustic treatments: on the Level 0 appear a group of combinable rooms for children, babies and youths around the service nucleus, as well as the main reading room that connects with the book collection on the 1st floor to form a large open space of two heights. On Level 1, an orthogonal volume of the multi-purpose rooms is adhered. The accesses and routes to the reading room and multipurpose rooms are designed to be used independently from the rest of the functions. On the last Level 2 there is an opaque body that contains the technological room and newspapers area in front of a terrace above the cantilevered box.

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Madrid, Spain




Madrid City Council