Municipal Library Setúbal – Portugal Building

Municipal Library, Setúbal Public Competition, Portugal Development, Portuguese Architecture

Setúbal Municipal Library, Portugal

Portuguese Competition Winner – design by Jordana Tomé + Filipe Oliveira + Vitor Quaresma

19 + 18 Jul 2013

Municipal Library Setúbal

Design: Jordana Tomé + Filipe Oliveira + Vitor Quaresma

Location: Setúbal, Portugal

Setúbal Municipal Library Portugal

Entries: 127 national and foreign designs

Setúbal Municipal Library
image from architects

The Municipal Library Setúbal was designed by the architects Jordana Tomé, Filipe Oliveira and Vitor Quaresma. The building was awarded with the first prize in the Public Competition for the Elaboration of the Project for Setúbal’s Municipal Library.

Setúbal Municipal Library
image from architects

The Jury classified the proposal with “great architectural quality, complying with high efficiency, main goals of the preliminary program. The urban integration allows the square to “breathe”, capping it with a building on the south (…) The functional program is very well structured and the reading areas, which relate to two levels, benefit from generous natural light. Formally it is a building that engages with its surroundings, adapting its form to the existing trees, creating its own language between the interior and exterior, formalized in its great transparency, with slender pillars that resemble tree trunks.”

Setúbal Municipal Library
image from architects

Largo José Afonso in Setúbal, a square originally bounded by buildings of 2 and 3 floors, dated from the XIX century and punctuated on its center by a fountain surrounded of high Araucarias was, in the last decades, submitted to several changes and transformations, amongst which stands out the construction of a dwelling tower on the Northeastside, the Portuguese Youth Institute on the Eastside and the outdoor Auditorium on the Northside that have fragmented and subdivided the square. The outdoor Auditorium, building of great impact on the Square, took away the protagonism of the Fountain and split the square into two – a grove on the East and a yard on the West.

Setúbal Municipal Library
image from architects

The design presented proposes the construction of the Library building on the Southside and the Parking building on the Eastside that in articulation with the existing tree line on the West, forms a peristyle that embraces the Square, with permeable pathways between their surroundings and the main central space – a big stage for a variety of events.

Setúbal Municipal Library
image from architects

The Library building creates a forefront for the City, through its scale and an open and contemporary facade, towards north. The forefront raised from the groundfloor, invites people to walk through the Square until its entrance, sheltered by a covered area, releasing the ground floor from major built areas. This floor houses the reception, cafeteria and polyvalent room, spaces caracterized by dynamic activities that can relate directly to the outside covered spaces and can have an autonomous functioning from the rest of the Library.

Setúbal Municipal Library
image from architects

The vertical circulation atrium connects the various floors and clearly sets out the spaces required in the preliminary program. On the first floor, is the access to the reading rooms of the adult section, next to the trees, and the children’s section, next to the yard. The adult’s reading room is characterized by a double height floor ceiling that being next to the north facade protected from direct sunlight, allows an open relation with the outside Square, through a glazed façade. The transition between interior and exterior is enhanced by the modeling of the facade to the existing trees and setting the pillars in quincunx. Thus, the room provides a visual comfort for users by taking advantage of the reflected South light from the trees and a view over their tops. The location of the book’s deposit in this floor gives shape to the different levels of the reading room, creating rich paths and different forms of appropriation of space. On the second floor is the access to working areas, offices and meeting rooms that take advantage of a terrace on the Southside overlooking the rooftops and the Serra da Arrábida.

Setúbal Municipal Library Setúbal Municipal Library Setúbal Municipal Library Setúbal Municipal Library
images from architects

The Parking building works like a Pavilion designed to accommodate other uses beyond the parking lot, as fairs, exhibitions and other events articulated with the Square. Beyond its functional versatility it also allows an easy and autonomous construction from that of the Library building, as their only connection is a long and narrow covered roof, part of the peristyle that surrounds the Square. This connection also creates a sun / rain shelter between the Luisa Todi’s Avenue and the Library building.

Setúbal Municipal Library Setúbal Municipal Library Setúbal Municipal Library Setúbal Municipal Library Setúbal Municipal Library
images from architects

Setúbal Municipal Library – Building Information

Architecture: Jordana Tomé, Filipe Oliveira, Vitor Quaresma
Coordenation: Joaquim Duque Duarte
Landscape Architecture: HAHA arquitectura paisagista
Engineering: Eng.º Celestino Quaresma; Adusado, Lda.; Certigy, Lda.; Acção e Reacção, Lda.; Eng.º António Salgado
Arts: Inês Murta
Promotor: Câmara Municipal de Setúbal
Location: Largo José Afonso, Setúbal
Date: 2013 –

Setúbal Municipal Library images / information from Jordana Tomé, Filipe Oliveira, Vitor Quaresma


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Setúbal Municipal Library Building – page