Design for new public library creates double height ceilings and reading roof terrace
Coming second in a national competition for the Santa Catarina Public Library in Florianopolis, Brazil, this project was designed by a collective group of individual architects from São Paulo, Brazil: Rafael Brych, João Paulo Payar, Matheus M.R. Alves and Ricardo Felipe Gonçalves. The Santa Catarina competition included the renovation of a former administrative building, to be adapted at a later date into a public library. A major factor of the competition was a limited budget, forcing the architects to create a low cost design.
One of the main projects faced by the architecture team was the monotonous space inside the building, with low ceilings and inadequate room for the open spatiality desired for library use. The design approach was therefore focused on the reconfiguration of this ‘bureaucratic space’ into a true cultural landmark for Santa Catarina, taking advantage of the merits of the existing building and adjusting it through interventions concise but no less incisive. In doing so, the architects had to explore alternatives to connect and enhance the existing interior space.
The final design includes a sequence of stairways, articulated through new areas of double height ceilings, obtained through meticulous subtractions of sectors of each floor slab. The result is a diagonal axis which allows the visual integration of the entire building from the ground floor access to the last new floor, transforming segregated areas into continuous spaces. At the top of the structure is a new roof terrace, occupied with reading areas and covered in red steel. Not only does this set the building apart from its neighbours, but it is aims to attract new users to the public library. The structure is presented to the urban environment mediated by a new discrete facade, consisting of light fabric panels with progressive levels of transparency, allowing light to be filtered into the building with varied intensity, depending on the activities in each individual area.