The project is part of the City of Books a project by the Mexican Secretary of Culture to acquire the personal book collections of the most relevant Mexican writers and intellectuals of the 20th Century and commissioning architects the design of each personal library to be housed within La Ciudadela, an 18th Century building in the central part of Mexico City.
arquitectura 911sc was asked to design the Jaime Garcia Terres Library, which occupies a small room, with an area of just 170 square meters (1,830 sq ft) and a height of 6.30 meters (20.7 ft) located on the northwest corner of La Ciudadela.
The project is conceived as a series of objects and interventions, which through its scale, materiality and presence, seek to establish a dialogue with both the books of the collection, as well as with the historic building.
The design introduces a new area where the entire program is contained; a floor made of Tzalam tropical wood in the central part of the space which also wraps a section of the walls.
Two long and massive bookshelves are suspended from the walls, and whose modulation at 60 (0.98 ft), 90 (2.95 ft) and 120 cm (3.94 ft) create a syncopated rhythm that mirrors the floor pattern. The 18,000 volumes are illuminated from the back of the shelves giving the books a sense of lightness.
The central space of the tray is occupied by an area for the librarians, lower bookcases, chairs and reading tables. There are three areas for different types of reading and consultation; casual with low sofas and lamps, study, with by tzalam tables and chairs and personal, inside the ‘reading cube’.
The ‘reading cube, located at the western end of the room is a small and intimate environment surrounded by books and with a reproduction of the table where Jaime Garcia Terres wrote, read and worked.
A suspended wood structure conceived as an ‘empty bookcase’ hangs from the ceiling and filters the light through a series of mullions modulated in the same fashion as the bookshelves. An art piece by Perla Krauze entitled “Suspended Time” consisting of more than 300 semitransparent resin stones of different sizes and colors, hangs from the ceiling and establishes a relationship of gravity, lightness, and weight with the other objects in the room.
The overall character of the room is one of acoustical and lighting warmth; where the material palette and spatial enclosure contribute to the activity of reading, honoring the memory of Jaime García Terres.