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library in Legnano. IT
date: january 2008
client: municipality of Legnano
quantities: 3.000 m2
library in Legnano  
The library, which is situated in the middle of several heterogeneous urban elements (a canal, a new district, a park, the city centre), demonstrates the community's desire to create a new centre for the neighbourhood. For this reason a strong symbol was chosen: a pure urban form that plays with transparencies to suggest a new kind of research space.
A cube, partially cantilevered over the road, rests on a grassy park, with the main entrance characterised by an overhang under which visitors find the first meeting and exchange point. The environmental impact of the library is minimised by splitting the square footage between the building tower and a large underground level. At the urban scale the surface treatment is the project’s most defining characteristic; a continuous skin of U-glass on three sides creates varying degrees of transparency, alternating transparent and opaque glass according to the various functions.
The new library is based on the typical three-level German library model. The library's first level (the most public) is distributed in the lower section of the tower and in the large open space located in the basement. The upper section, which contains the second and third floors, hosts the reference room and the consultation and reading rooms. Large windows and revolving wooden panels encourage a direct dialogue with the park. The interior has a clear distributional and functional scheme: a large service block, with an adjoining wall of bookcases, cuts lengthwise through the entire building, clearly stating the library's function. This distributional scheme assumes a unique character in relationship to the tower, with the wall becoming isolated – and therefore revealed – thanks to a system of split levels, to which it is connected via a series of bridges.