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

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news