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Rafael Alberti Central Library

The proposal gives maximum consideration to the concept of the "Plaza", reconstructing the original aspect of the facades of the Plaza de España and the Calle de la Libertad since they are the ones which best conserve the original structure. However it was decided to eliminate part of the fachade of the Avenida de la Constitución because neither its shape nor its makeup bore any resemblance to the nearby houses. The multipurpose halls are visible as wooden lattice frameworks projecting from the aforementioned fachade.


San Fernando de Henares, Spain


Ayuntamiento de San Fernando de Henares


Central Library





Texto Biblioteca Rafael Alberti

The Royal Site of San Fernando de Henares was one of the “New Towns” set up by Fernando VI. The Central Library is located on the site, where six years ago was situated the city hall. Parts of the existing walls are from the XVII century, when “la Plaza de España” (1747-1756) was founded.


The proposal was giving maximum protection to the idea of the Plaza, reconstructing the original aspect of the facades towards the Plaza de España and the street Libertad, which are conserving best the original structure. 

The main decision was to eliminate part of the facade towards the “Avenida de la Constitución” as the outlook of that part of the composition does not fit at all to the housing situated there.


The facades facing la Plaza are composed following a simple design based on repetitive symmetries and the use of materials of that epoch. A very important decision of the project was, to maintain the original cornice which runs up to the length of the whole building, forming thus a continuous horizontal plan.


In the Library are included following sections: Periodic publications, newspaper library, consulting rooms and lecture halls, multimedia, loan, technical works, multipurpose hall and expositions.

The facility of controlling the installation, the commodity of the user, the multi-functionality of the installations and the incorporation and adaptation of modern technologies are the factors influencing the design of the building.


The building is divided by the zone of the main staircases, working as a column, in two clear different parts.


1. The consulting area or the studio, which by its rectangular form, embraced by the antique facades of the building, occupy the major part of the floor.


2. The zone of the multimedia rooms, multipurpose halls or periodic publications; this more occasional zone of minor occupation, is situated on the other side of the main staircases.


A big skylight that runs the whole length of the building, crowns the lineal staircase and the principal circulation. On its tall sides, glass panels allow to observe the whole space and its occupants, nevertheless, the furniture of the library in form of bookshelves behind the glass panels give a restricted view to its readers: A lattice made out of books!


At the basement level, access and first level produce a high atrium between the glass panels of the staircase and the multipurpose halls. On the second level, the slap recovers up to the “Avenida de la Constitución”, filtering like this the daylight. The volume of the multipurpose halls expresses itself by a fence of wood, assigning contrast to the central crystal volume.


The zones of the studios at the second level have series of skylights, which are filtering the daylight and serve at the same time as photovoltaic solar panels.

More Pictures

Together with: GIRA Arquitectos

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