BIBLIOTECA DE MEXICO JOSE VASCONSELOS

Library (competition)

Mexico City, Mexico

2003

Despite Victor Hugo’s declaration that the book would kill architecture and subsequent predictions that the internet will kill the book, the library is not likely to disappear in a blizzard of bandwidth. Printed matter continues to be the most ubiquitous form of information and libraries continue to provide a space for its ritualized access. While technology has undeniably transformed the library from a receptacle of knowledge into a conduit of transmission across the global network, the specificity of geo-political contexts, cultures, and languages has never been more significant to the design of the individual library. The Biblioteca de Mexico is conceived for a new political context in which the drive towards literacy and the democratization of information is part of a shift towards greater openness, accessibility, permeability and transparency. The project is a response to one of the most significant paradoxes for contemporary architecture: the monocultural, ephemeral world of information technologies and the relative permanence of buildings and site specificity. The building is designed to be the public living room of Mexico City, fusing the high aspirations of learning with pleasure, comfort, and recreation, accommodating pixels and pulp, and dissolving the categories of “info-rich” and “info-poor.” The Biblioteca de Mexico is a collaboration with TEN Arquitectos.

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