A LIBRARY FOR THE CITY
EL CABANYAL - INNOVATION PARK
El Cabanyal is an old fishing village with small tightly packed houses and streets and is a historic part of the city of Valencia. It is is predominantly residential area. It is very detached from the rest of the city and not very accessible by foot; it is a 2 hour walk from the city centre. There is also a busy roundabout which connects the beach, El Cabanyal and La Malva-Rosa. The rest of the site is surrounded by the busy maze-like streets of El Cabanyal.
My brief involved creating a library on this site which would reconnect El Cabanyal with the rest of the city, whilst also taking into account the issues of location and climate.
CITY OF COLOURS
EL CABANYAL - INNOVATION PARK
I created a large public park with three buildings each aligning will a different street of El Cabanyal and offering ever-changing views and angles of the city. The buildings all involve tall and airy spaces which offer shade for relaxing and reading close to the beach. The central element of this project is the walkway which stretches between the three buildings connecting interior and exterior spaces. It also offers views of the beach and city.
The three buildings are divided programatically, firstly there is the Wave. This contains a high open space divided with changing levels, pools and plants. This space it to relax in, the opening doors and high open roof allow good ventilation and the controlled light from above make it the perfect place to gather. Mezzanine levels above offer smaller more focused spaces for reading. This space backs into a large tower with acts as a landmark for the site and El Cabanyal. The tower is open at the top and any rain falls down to a pool at the bottom whilst the public can circulate on the platforms above. This building gets its name from the shape of the exterior walkway created through these two spaces, the roof of the large void curves up and over the walkway towards the tower creating the shape of a wave before it breaks. These exterior walls are clad in blue Valencia tiles like you are walking through the ocean.
The second building is the Arts Centre, on the ground floor there is a large restaurant which opens onto a large exterior patio for more seating or live music. The first floor has a large webbed gallery with various circular rooms all connected by arched walkways. This gallery wraps around the domed bar which has a large sea window and booths around a central U-shaped bar. The Arts Centre would open until late at night and could be used for and program or function, joining people from across the city.
The third building is the more traditional book store / library. It involves a reception area and a double height room with tall book towers holding hundreds of volumes. For the protection of the books there are small sky lights around the top of each tower allowing the room to stay ventilated, whilst cool and shaded. A steel walkway stretches between the towers on the first floor connection to a computer lab holding more digital volumes.
The tramline wraps around the site and connects to the exterior landscape between the three buildings, seating, pools and grassy areas allow the visitors to flow between the buildings seamlessly with stairs connecting to the walkways above.
The Library’s purpose is to store and protect books and information whilst making it accessible to members of the public.
The first concepts of a library started in monasteries where monks would read as a form of prayer, the would sit in small focused reading spaces and study texts. These small spaces were called carrels.
Libraries are timeless in a sense that information, histories and texts will always need storing and safeguarding but also in a sense that they are places within the public realm, places people can meet and gather together.