José Vasconcelos Library (Mexico City, Mexico)

Photo: Alberto Kalach Studio

‘biblioteca y jardín botánico josé vasconcelos’ by TAX arquitectura | alberto kalach
all images courtesy of TAX arquitectura | alberto kalach

in the tightly knit urban fabric of mexico city, TAX arquitectura | alberto kalach designs the biblioteca jose vasconcelosamongst a luscious botanical garden. the design manifests alberto kalach’s desire to seize every opportunity to create green space In the polluted, aggressively built context. these two typologies are not so divergent, as the library houses human knowledge, and the garden is planted with a rich sample of local flora. the result is is a symbiosis of natural and cultural learning environments. the planted landscape itself promotes ecological renewal in the dry climate, and will ameliorate air quality in the vicinity.

daylight pours in through the translucent facade, illuminating the rhythmic composition of floating stacks

the heavy concrete structure is lightened with an extensive glass enclosure. at the exterior, the rhythm of mullions parallels the densely planted garden which acts as a screen between the inner working of the library and its planted landscape. the facade’s horizontal strata provide ample shading for the reading areas beneath the transparent skin. inside, central media stacks appear to float above the grand lobby. their orthogonal plan is staggered in section, creating an intricate network of pathways and balconies that resemble a plant’s root system. the building itself is supported by an underground parking structure. canted walls step back from the retaining walls, allowing light and air to infiltrate the entire edifice.

layered walk ways and stacks are composed as the dense root system of hanging plants

reading areas line the perimeter of the building, while program with lower light requirements occupy the interior void

bookshelves are framed in light for illuminated browsing

the library is an ark of knowledge in mexico city


the botanic garden is a living library rich in local flora

reading areas and book storage float above the main lobby

the library resembles a science fiction organism

sectional sketch shows integration of plant life into the design
image © TAX arquitectura | alberto kalach



(top): longitudinal section
(bottom): plan
image © TAX arquitectura | alberto kalach

transverse section shows underground parking and floating stacks
image © TAX arquitectura | alberto kalach

project info:

project name: biblioteca vasconcelos
architectural design: alberto kalach, juan palomar
project team: emmanuel ramírez, ignacio del rio, tami tamashiro, josé luis reyes, hector módica, bolívar garrido, iván ramírez, gabriel ortiz, roland oberhofer, paola acevedo, alejandra castañeda
constructed surface area: 50,000 m2
location: mexico city
date: 2006



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