LOCATION Pescara, Italy
Year 2004 – 2008
THEME Architecture, Cultural spaces, Library
STATUS Competition
DESIGNERS Antonio Monestiroli, Tomaso Monestiroli, Massimo Ferrari, Maria Laura Polignano

The building for culture is a place in the forest. It is the forest itself that becomes a building at that point, and its interior is nothing but a clearing protected by a large roof supported by two fences of pillars that continue the rows of trees. In that clearing, a meeting place surrounded by the books of an entire region, a wide variety of cultural events take place, from exhibitions to debates, from lectures to video screenings, etc. A large covered plaza, the square of knowledge, which can be walked on three different levels: on the ground in a large undivided space open to the most diverse activities, on a first gallery where part of the books collected in the library appear, and on a second level intended for exhibitions, from which it is possible to see at the same time the large space inside the building and the park in which the building is located. A series of interconnected paths that allow a clear recognition of the place where one is gathered and its meanings.

The hope is that the elements that are deposited in the collective memory and remain in time will become the forest, of which the structure of the building is meant to be an allegory, and the interior of the building, that covered square, a meeting place for all citizens, which is accessed by passing through a series of concentric enclosures each with its own role and meaning. From the outermost enclosure, the perimeter pillars that enclose the building, to the second row of pillars that coupled with the first ones support the great roof bearing its greater weight, to the stone enclosure pierced to filter light into the library, to the innermost enclosure staggered on two overlapping floors, the arrival point for those who meet there and the great atrium for those who are headed to the library. Crossing the successive enclosures one after the other, traversing the space between them, makes the point of arrival precious; moreover, a sense of expectation is generated that expands the meaning of the place, that meaning that the place itself with its concluded form must be able to evoke. The aim of the project is to make that meaning recognizable through one’s experience of the building: by walking through it, standing inside it, or even just walking past it. The large classroom building is constructed from two distinct parts: a large roof (70 x 80 meters) composed of a double row of steel pillars supporting a system of crossed lattice girders still made of steel, and below the roof a closed court building constructed of reinforced concrete and clad in travertine both outside and inside. These two parts, one contained within the other, are independent and autonomous. The travertine-clad building contains the library, media library, conference room, cafeteria, and bookshop. The large space inside the library building is used for exhibitions, assemblies, meetings, as well as performances and screenings, a space that expands to the floor level of the interior volume, which is still under the large metal roof, and is connected to the ground floor by two large staircases and two elevators. From this high floor that runs all around the building, which is cold but covered, it is possible to have a view of the park and at the same time of the central place inside the building. The library is divided on three sides of the inner building. On the perimeter the double-height reading rooms, towards the inside the book storerooms arranged on two floors, on the ground floor and a second floor facing the inside of the reading rooms on one side and the large central courtyard on the other. Overlooking this large courtyard, which is also the place of arrival from the woods and the lobby of the library, is a gallery containing a portion of the library’s books, which in this way makes itself recognizable from the outside and defines the character of the place. The library is connected by a system of stairs, elevators, and freight elevators with the basement, which contains other book storage rooms, as well as staff services. The media library is distributed similarly to the library with an important variation of separating the large spaces of the reading rooms with movable partitions to create classrooms of different sizes to accommodate different groups of people: from small groups to school classes who want to consult media materials, video recordings, video lectures, educational films, and art films. In the same building adjacent to the library is a conference hall with 150 seats. At the entrance to the building, on the two sides of the front, are the cafeteria with a small restaurant on one side and the bookshop on the other. These two rooms face the park and are connected to all the activities in the building. At the four corners are arranged the services for the public, offices and services for the library staff.


L. Cardani (edit by) Studio Monestiroli  Opere e progetti di Architettura  Electa Milan 2021

Monestiroli Architetti Associati. Aule Parma  2014

D. Nencini (edit by)  Innovazione e tradizione: osservatorio sulla ricerca in architettura in Italia Prospettive Edizioni Rome 2013