The quiet oasis of the "Biblioteca Mexico José Vasconcelos"

There is hardly a day when I do not hear at least five street vendors singing or creaming in the streets of Mexico City. The background noise is intense, especially for people who did not grow up in the megacity.

It is all the more important to find places of rest. During a walk through the historic center of the city I stumbled across the dark red, extensive building of the Biblioteca Mexico José Vasconcelos. The 18th-century building originally served as a royal tobacco factory. The building has since been used as a military barrack, prison, weapons factory and since 1946 parts of the complex have been used as a library. In 1987, the reconstruction and conversion of the entire building to a library was decided. The commissioned architect Abraham Zabludovsky set himself the goal of changing the historical inventory as little as possible. Zabludovsky used light steel structures and glass roofs to cover the four large patios. Under the appropriate title "City of Books", from 2011-2012 the library was designed by architects Alejandro Sánchez and Bernardo Gómez Pimienta into today's versatile library.

Various large courtyards with very different characteristics, uses and lighting conditions radiate their own atmospheres. Artworks enhance the character of the courtyards. In some patios people are chatting, kissing or discussing their studies. Other patios only serve for circulation. The absolute silence can be found in the reading rooms. The versatile cultural center is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a few quiet moments.

© LEARNING FROM MEXICO 2019 by Laure Nashed

 Die Beiträge von «learningfrommexico» entstehen in Zusammenarbeit mit der Schweizer Architekturzeitschrift werk, bauen + wohnen.