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Architecture: Antonio Gala Library in Guadalcázar, Córdoba

Guadalcázar, Córdoba

From the architects (Francisco López and Gudula Rudolf). The library, located opposite the Town Hall, was designed as a compact, concrete block, seven metres high, resting on its rear wall; it overlooks the front garden and the Town Hall building.

The interior comprises a single space subdivided into two rooms placed one above the other. Though similar in layout, they offer a marked contrast in volume: while the ground- floor space is of double height, thus conveying the impression of a large entrance hall, the upper floor has a more private feeling, its height being compressed to force a horizontal view of the garden.

Antonio Gala Library

This division is achieved by means of an L-shaped wooden block which supports the staircase and conceals the necessary amenities. A striking feature of its functional nature is the removal of all distinction between served spaces and servant; both floors are designed as open-plan spaces, where various uses (reception, reading areas, shelves, aisles) are blended together liberated in a single dynamic space.

Antonio Gala Library 3

Antonio Gala Library 4

Antonio Gala Library

The most remarkable element is the façade, a frontage that elegantly combines to address all the determining requirements. The design echoes two images drawn from memory (the existing modular bookstands and a set of stacked manholes on a nearby building site), which have been scaled up to the size and resistance of the precast concrete frames manufactured in a neighbouring village.

Antonio Gala Library 2

This gives rise to a thick, alternating blind-open façade which shapes views while catering to functional needs. In doing so, it covers at a stroke the requirements of the project as a whole: a load-bearing façade which houses bookshelves, affords protection from sunlight, projects the view towards the garden, and in general achieves a qualitative impact prompted by something more than a skin-deep frontage.

Antonio Gala Library 7


Photos: Fernando Alda and

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