from the exterior, this black cylinder appears looming and industrial, but on the inside waits a pleasant surprise. stepping through the gates, visitors are welcomed into an agora of books, a colosseum entirely white except for a ribbon shelf of reading material in an assortment of various colors. it surrounds the upper floor and stands out in this stark white space. this pavilion was built for the 2017 international book fair in mexico and was designed by spanish architect alberto campo baeza.

alberto campo baeza
all images by césar béjar

 

 

baeza claims that ‘the idea at the heart of the project is to create a recognizable space which all the attendees at this major fair will have to pass through. we envisaged an agora full of light, of light that brings wisdom through books.’ this space is fairly recognizable as it channels a lot of classical architecture, much of which can still be found in spain, yet in this new context it takes on the meaning of the words written on the exterior walls ‘madrid, cervantes, peace, rulfo.’ 

alberto campo baeza

 

 

the interior space seems to float like a space station, perhaps mirroring the transportive effect of reading. there is a lot of freedom, as each axis has an entrance. the rest of the walls are lined with the greek theater-style seating/stairs allowing the user to climb/sit/read however they desire. this is an important theme, as reading is liberating — this is a touching work that evokes these essential ideas.

alberto campo baeza

alberto campo baeza

alberto campo baeza

alberto campo baeza

alberto campo baeza

 

 

project info:

 

architect: alberto campo baeza
location: guadalajara, méxico
client: ayuntamiento de madrid
area: 350 sqm
competition: 2016
project: 2017
built: 2017
collaborators: alejandro cervilla garcía, ignacio aguirre lópez, teresa sanchis, elena jiménez sánchez, tommaso campiotti

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