Type: Open national competition.

Location: São Paulo. Brazil.

Year: 2013.

Program: Library.

Size: 3.700m2 

Collaborators: Celso Costa Filho. Cleide da Silva.


The current building of the Faculty of Law library is located at Rua Senador Feijó, near the historical building of this Faculty. Its position in the city of São Paulo, in the center, with public transportation around, make this building a great opportunity not only for the University, but also for the whole city. Because of the current situation of the property, a deep renovation of the premises and interior layout is required. Factors such as natural light, sun protection and reduced capacity to house the books available in the Faculty of Law, are sufficient to plan a reform, according to the following points.



The structure of the building is designed to allow the passage of light into the interior, through a gap that has almost the entire height of the building. These openings in the slabs reduce the space available for each floor and, therefore, make it difficult to take advantage of the real possibilities of the building. According to the volume that must be stored in the library of the Faculty of Law, the idea of replacing the core of elevators and ladder, and closing the gap, will allow to optimize these parameters.



Closing the slabs, besides creating a larger useful surface, will reduce the number of facades in contact with the exterior, thus obtaining a much more compact and therefore sustainable building. With this action, what was once a pavement divided into two parts, besides the side for the staircase and the elevator, now becomes a continuous space that will be used to locate the entire collection, with reading areas at the ends, and a space defined for work rooms and communications core on one side.



Because of the great load that the slabs will bear, it is necessary to reinforce the existing structure by doubling the number of beams, and thus creating slabs with reinforcements that guarantee the structural safety of the performance. Once the slabs are closed, the next step is to regularize the structural grid of internal pillars. In the longitudinal walls of the ends, this element is duplicated, to join the new structure at this point. With the precise reinforcements, the structural structure of pillars is eliminated, obtaining a grid of walls, two at the ends and a third located between the main stair and the fringe of the collection. Structural walls and slabs that allow the layout of the floors of the new library for the Faculty of Law. The free pavement of the offices, applied in a cultural building like this, will allow the adaptation to the same of the needs that may change over time.



The street was always the place where cultural manifestations emerged and consolidated in society. Today, many public buildings have lost that quality inherent in them and have become hermetic and elitist elements that alienate the culture of its main beneficiaries, citizens. The action of opening the living space to the street, and vice versa, to make the street enter the library, is fundamental to understand the character that we want this institution to have in society. Doors open to all; the culture for all. Thus, public institutions, as well as private institutions, will be able to reconcile with the citizen, and cultural activities will again be the property of their creators.



However, the new library presents an obvious challenge: the large volume of books available needs adequate space for its exposure, consultation and storage. The importance of this point of the needs program in the building, leads us to create a library from it. Thus, as explained in the action of closing the slabs, all decisions are designed to achieve the best possible functioning of these spaces. With a clear layout and mixing books, theses, periodicals and special collection, in proportional parts on all the floors of the library, you can stratify the library and distribute it in height. Each floor can be considered as a small autonomous library. At the extremes, tables like common reading areas and work for employees.



In the second area of the plants, after the new structural organization, the main staircase of the building, accesses, two public elevators and one mounts books are placed in her. In addition, reading and group work rooms are clearly separated from the collection area. The activities that take place there need different environmental characteristics and, therefore, the layout should be so. In the north façade of the building, deep openings are projected, some perpendicular to Senador Feijó Street, and others looking at the historical building of the Faculty of Law. The difference between them is shown in the different use per floor.



The center of lifts and stairs also includes the zones of facilities. The climatization of the building, with the technical rooms in the basement, allows a clear differentiation between the collection area and the reading rooms and group work. The rainwater harvesting allows a reuse of this natural resource, which will be used to irrigate the proposed vegetation in the subsoil and that emerges up to the quota of the ground floor by one of the longitudinal walls of the building. In the background, a garden with native trees acts as a natural backdrop for visitors to the building on the ground floor. At the same time, it can reduce the energy consumption of the whole building, by improving the environmental conditions in a city as hard as São Paulo.



The top floor of the building is completely new. At this point lies the administrative area of the new library, open to an interior garden. Special work rooms complete this unique space, with a large outdoor garden oriented to the north and facing Senador Feijó Street, becoming a great place to rest and also for leisure. The building's vegetation covers serve, in addition to solar protection, as thermal insulation to reduce the visual impact of downtown buildings. The introduction of small green areas will allow, as if it were an urban acupuncture, to situate nature in coexistence with the citizen.



The north façade of this building is of vital importance. Protecting the collection from solar radiation will save books and at the same time reduce overall building energy consumption. Therefore, the creation of a new facade with horizontal elements that protect the interior, and that makes the set have a recognizable image, is without a doubt, the most important action in this project. A brise-soleil that stops the solar radiation, generating a space in shadow for the zone of suitable reading, and that shows horizontal lines in all the facade. Small windows allow you to open the façade to let the air pass through and generate a direct ventilation with the south façade, thus improving the interior conditions and renewing the air naturally.



Diffuse southern light must enter the library. The façade is composed of floor-to-ceiling glass, with small windows at the top, allowing ventilation connected with the north façade. The reading tables in this part of the building do not need any protection. Placed in front of the glass, continuous, they define the image of the building in this orientation. A transparent glass front that shows inside the collection of books of the new library of the Faculty of Law.



The connection to the historic building does not require underground passages or large walkways above the street level. All these elements presuppose a structural work and a cost that can hardly be justified before the citizen. For this reason, we propose a direct, obvious and simple connection. Red paint, the same color as the ground floor, applied to the existing pavement of the street and that reaches the door of the historic building on Rua Cristóvão Colombo, will be enough to create a new urban environment. A point marked with clarity and recognized by all users, but above all honest. The shortest distance between two points is the straight line, and in this case further, red.