Municipal Library in Nembro, Italy by Archea Associati

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nembro is a small town near Bergamo, in Italy. In 2002, the municipality commissioned the well known Italian architects Archea Associati, based in Florence, to design their library. It was not an easy task, as they had to incorporate an end of 19th century c-shaped building (formerly a primary school) into the design.

The extension is situated in front of the opening of the c-shape, forming an open court with the old building.

The new wing could not be more different than the old structure. A transparent glass volume is surrounded by a façade of 40x40 cm red glazed earthenware tiles held in place by a frame of steel profiles, a construction method that enables the tiles to rotate and so act as a sunscreen for the glazed inner façades. The result is a distinctive 'screen' wall in which closed and open planes alternate in a continuous pattern created by the rotating ceramic elements.

The custom-made glazed terracotta tiles come from the ancient furnaces of the firm Sannini of Impruneta. The faces of the ’books’, weigh 13 kg each . Indirect sunlight is diffused inside, filtered as if through the slats of a Venetian blind so as never to fall directly on users of the library. The color of the tiles reminds one of the red marble of the area.

The building takes a whole different aspect at night: the light from within is diffused outside through the tiles, making the building seem lightweight and airy. as if dissolving into the evening sky.

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