The Sant Antoni Library was a place we visited for one of our classes. It’s an interesting building to inhabit and examine because of its non-traditional integration into the Cerda grid. Through the middle of the library is an opening straight into the courtyard, or Manzana, of the block. Typically, this interior courtyard is sealed off from the public and is only accessible to the residents of the block. The library extends into the courtyard space, snaking around the outside. Program spaces traverse across opening of the passage from the street to the Manzana. Because of the small scale of the building and the way it integrates into it’s context, it is very difficult to take photos that capture all of the design moves. Here are a few pictures and sketches that will hopefully describe the project:
The Museum of Contemporary Art by Richard Meier and the Sant Antoni Library are two very different buildings, formally and programmatically, but the comparison of building sections reveals there are still some underlying similarities between the two designs. In Meier’s project, the majority of the circulation occurs on suspended walkways constrained within the main atrium space. Visitors observe the circulation above them as they approach from the ground floor. Visitors at the library experience the same phenomena. As one approaches the library entrance from the street through the cavity in the fabric of the block, it is hard to avoid observing the program and circulation that traverses overhead. This outdoor area, framed by the roof of the library and the traversing program pieces, mimics the experience of the atrium at MACBA. The “atrium” space of each building acts as an interstitial transition space between public space and private program, where the visitor experiences the circulation up and through the void.
MACBA housed an interesting collection of modern art. My visit confirmed that I have no concept of what modern art is. But here is the building at least: