Louis Cespedes

Louis Cespedes

New York, NY, US


Jalisco State Library

This Library Competition, the latest in a series of buildings for the University of Guadalajara Cultural Center  Master Plan, was presented in 2004, as an urban strategy to reconcile the public functions of the library, with the empty and yet unbuilt facilities of the cultural center site. Its main objective was to fuse several disparate programmatic demands over the territory and adjacent  the campus.

The universities vision and philosophy of promoting cultural venues on a contested site in the northern extreme of the greater Guadalajara Metropolitan Region (ZMG) posed several important questions about the type of programmatic chemistry between what exists and how a Master Plan ought to perform. More importantly though, we felt that a public institution, seeking to enter the cultural capitalism provoked private venture mechanisms and promotional activities at an urban scale which were  important as well as suspicious.

Seeking to tap into this dichtomy,  the Jalisco State LIbrary submission was an ambitious cultural project focused on making clear distinctions between the public use of a building, and the difficult programatic layers of the libraries internal functions and restrictions. The university positions itself reinforcing its authority as the designated promoter of culture, and higher education, while struggling with an obvious deficit in their intellectual capital. The university is a large institutional organ within the city, but it is also plagued with economic and spatial shortfalls resulting in the rejection of over 50% of its applicants. Several contradictions would arise throughout the process indicating that architecture could only serve as a successful pretext in justifying the expense of this building before the public and the student population. Alternative architectural and urban solutions would depend greatly on how broad the concept could be in relation to the new political and economic topography of the site, constant fluctuations in program demands, growth, and multifunctionality.

The Library is conceived as a series of environments within two  partially overlapped envelopes. creating landscapes within as well as around the building. The superstructure, housing all the books and collections, is sealed in large glass vitrines, viewed from all directions, as you circulate throughout the exterior of the building. Lower functions of the library are segregated form the upper formal library reading rooms and stacks.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Jalisco, MX