SETÚBAL MUNICIPAL LIBRARY
1st prize - internacional competition
José Afonso’s square, one of the most important public spaces in the city of Setúbal, situated between the river and the historic center, will be the site of the future Municipal Library of Setúbal. This square, originally defined by late 19th century housing blocks, has been transformed throughout the 20th century by new building constructions that have fragmented its configuration: an outdoor auditorium on the north side and a housing tower block and youth hostel on the east side.
A Municipal Library for the city/district of Setúbal that improves the square, and a parking garage that can be constructed in a 2nd phase.
The aim is to redefine the square boundaries. The library building is located along the south side above pilotis, the single roof parking garage and the gallery that links them are on the east side. These, together with the existing alignment of trees on the west side, redefine the boundaries like a peristyle that embraces the square. Its location and form allows the library building to have an open and transparent façade towards the north, reinforcing the relation with the city and the square. The façade design adapts to the existing trees as well as to the placement of the round columns, which contributes to dilute the border between the inside and the outside.
On the ground level will be the reception, cafeteria and multipurpose room that allows its inside activities to be expanded to outside, covered underneath the building or towards the square. On the 1st floor, the main Reading Room (adult area) works with a double high ceiling and is configured by an “amphitheatre” above the square and the trees. Also located on this floor are the Reading Room for children and the Archive. On the 2nd floor access is made to the upper level of the main Reading Room and to the Internal Service Areas. A core of technical facilities and access to the different floors work as the “backbone” of the building.