New media and the digitalization of information tend to make the book disappear. In a near future everybody will have access to books everywhere. This consideration said, books as objects will become more and more precious therefore would need an optimal way of preserving as well as a space for consulting. LIBRI propose to archive the books in a closed tower with controlled environment. A retrieval system would bring the books to the user. The library become a pick-up point where people will access the books they previously ordered online. Under the tower it offers a space for consulting precious books with optimal infrastructure and good light conditions.


By increasing the amount of library, the aim is to come closer to the people and complete an existing network. Though its strategically position and monumental image LIBRI assume the library as a totem for the collective memory in the city.


LIBRI is located in Sesto San Giovanni, in the suburb of Milan, a place where 90% of the people moved away after the industry’s breakdown. In this popular context, social statues and education are implicitly link with the library. To be accepted the project has to respond with an adapted language.


The process of LIBRI, tackled the contemporary state of libraries and its today’s adaptation. By rethinking the general relation with the books the project tries to find a new relevant place for the library in the range of the commons. The process is enhanced by questioning its monumental aspect in the city but also by keeping in mind the growing collective memory linked with the actual uses of new media.


In the range of common buildings, the library shows its influence beyond the building itself. The facade becomes a monument, a pure architectural intervention that acts as an obelisk in its surrounding. A contrario the interior space has a lot to do with rational aspects. The archive organization as well as the light condition let us see the library as a big machine. Speaking about machine, archives or data center, the question of the image raise again. What should be nowadays the architectural language for common memory, for the public knowledge?


A master project at the EPFL Lausanne with professor Kersten Geers.


Claessens Yannick & Pittet Christophe