DETAIL Prize 2014: Public Library in Ceuta
Text: Bettina Sigmund
Nominated for the DETAIL Prize 2014:
Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos, Madrid, Spain
Public Library in Ceuta, Ceuta, Spain
Ceuta, in the Spanish enclave on the north coast of Africa, has a dense and compact urban structure. This compactness is also reflected in the new library building. The building, constructed on a slope, rises up on a concrete pedestal, and is surrounded by narrow alleys. The facade consists of an outer aluminium and an inner glass layer. This results in different lighting moods inside the building, which is also protected from direct sunlight and heat. The volume, which from the outside appears closed, houses in its interior a large, open hall with archaeological ruins from the 14th century. The library has been built terrace-like in layers that can accommodate the lecture and reading rooms. The functions are grouped in these different levels around the archaeological zone as the centre of the building. Seven massive triangular concrete pillars support the building, the light steel structure for the folded roof, and the load of the actual library above the excavation site. Precise cuts and openings in the double façade grant wonderful views of the city, uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, as well as of Europe and Africa.