Joan Maragall Library Barcelona exterior view
Ariel Ramírez , BCQ arquitectura barcelona
Library Details
Basic Information
Public library
Year of opening
Total Cost
11,504,503 EUR
University / Institution
The Barcelona Libraries Consortium (CBB)
Carrer de Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, 85
08022 Barcelona
Project Story
Main Motications and Objectives

The main decision was to build the new building below the old existing garden and not take a part of this space. The motto with which we presented the project to the competition of ideas was “Garden of Light”. These two words sum up the two ideas of the project: to maintain and improve the existing garden, and at the same time get cheerful and well-lit spaces.

The library is inserted under the garden of Florida Villa, in the shade of its trees. Inside, a landscape in itself, articulated and changing, where each use and each user find their place. It is a personalized and unique space.


The building will particularly relate to Sant Gervasi de Cassoles street. The gap between the garden and Sant Gervasi street allow a natural access to the new facility. On the other hand, the green roof will be at the same level as the old garden, so the construction of the new facility will mean the restoration of the garden from the civic center in its maximum dimension, where Florida Villa is always the building that presides the whole ensemble.

The building is formed by the “light and silence courtyards” and “books and knowledge courtyards.” The first, surrounded by glass, light and ventilate the interior while isolating the library from the street. The second, solid prisms filled with books, are part of the supporting structure of the library.

Among the courtyards and the volumes, interior spaces for reading and work are articulated. These are spaces that should be small and seeking to give a comfortable feeling of domesticity to users.

The interior is designed simply with few textures; ceiling, floor, furniture and walls in general are white, while the walls that conceal the retaining concrete walls and building structures are covered with clay tiles. This porous material, warm and sound absorbent, is a reminder that this is a semi-buried building dug into the ground.

To link the library with the upper garden, two volumes project. One of them is a space for library support with direct access from the lobby, located in a privileged area. The other is a skylight in the playground.

The existing garden extends through the roof of the new library, up to the same road Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, from which arises a new access to the gardens next to the entrance to the main lobby of the Library. The original trees of the old garden have been replanted on the roof of the new library.

(BCQ arquitectura barcelona)

New Project Data
New building
Yes / 2007

Total Floor Area
2,396 m2
Floor Area Open to Public
1,850 m2
Shelving Capacity Open Stacks
1,115 linear meters
Shelving Capacity Closed Stacks
450 linear meters
Number of Staff
10 FTE
Total Seating Capacity
Group Study Rooms
Individual Study Rooms

Additional Features
Special Rooms

Exhibition room. 2 seminar rooms.

Special Features

2 patios and 1 exterior terrace.

Additional Comments