Municipal archive and library of Gelida

Gelida, Barcelona

Second prize, competition 2021

Competition launched by Barcelona Provincial Conucil

Built area: 1017,51 m²

Co-authors with: Nil Brullet

Structures: BBG Estructures, Recerca i Rehabilitació

Energy consultancy: Aiguasol

The project of the new Gelida library exploits the relationships of order and form between the structure and the program, generating spaces through simple operations such as the subdivisions of a triangular grid.

The site is located on the border between two urban grids: the old town center of the municipality and the residential area, which also have a significant difference in elevation. The proposal for a triangular-shaped building, which maximizes the floor occupancy, allows for the creation of a large roof plaza, becoming a new focal point, a spacious flat area within the sloping mountainside where the municipality is located. At the same time, through folds, terraces, and ramps, a smaller square is created at a lower elevation, which will serve as the enclosed access area to the library. Around it, with the aim of giving it vitality, the most dynamic elements are placed: the access area, the multipurpose space, and the children’s area.

The program is distributed on two floors, the entrance and a lower one. From the entrance area – equipped with the newspaper and magazine area, music, and image – you can access the multipurpose hall, which can be used independently of the rest of the library, and the children’s area, relatively separated from the other library spaces. It is connected to the access square, where outdoor activities can be extended. Behind the service counter is the administrative and service area, which connects directly through the elevator with the document repository and the logistics warehouse located on the lower floor.

Through a wide spiral staircase, you can access the -1 floor, where the information and general collection area is located, open to the north facade, with different types of reading points and directly related to the training spaces that are illuminated and ventilated through the southwest facade. The archive area is semi-buried, supported by the Old Station Road, in such a way that the rooms that do not require natural lighting and need hygrothermal stability (deposits, warehouses, etc.) are buried, while the consultation rooms face the facade. Taking advantage of the topographical slope of the street, the archive access is proposed, allowing it to operate completely independently.

The project proposes a strong geometric order that produces a clear constructive rationality, where the use of wood in the bidirectional structure and the modulation of all elements allow for the prefabrication and dry assembly of almost the entire building. It emphasizes constructional honesty, where structural materials and enclosures are visible and do not require cladding.

A highly efficient thermal envelope is designed; the facades differ according to their orientation and specific space requirements:

  • The north facade is configured with a system of vertical mullions, sized to provide sun protection in the summer afternoons. Between the mullions, there is a system of opaque panels and glazing equipped with blinds.
  • The southeast and southwest facades are designed with large glazed areas to maximize passive solar heat gain in winter while protecting against summer radiation by combining vegetation and blinds.
  • On the southwest facade, along the ramp, a crucial passive element for the building’s bioclimatic management is incorporated: a “strip” that provides indirect light to the underground floor and contributes to the natural ventilation strategy of the building. In its central part, this strip is configured as a double skin that, during the winter, creates a greenhouse effect that improves the efficiency of the enclosure, while the rest of the year acts as a solar chimney that helps extract accumulated heat naturally.

A sanitary slab is designed that utilizes the soil’s inertia to precondition the outdoor air, both in summer and winter. This way, the energy demand necessary to precondition the air before delivering it to interior spaces is reduced.