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Library Passport: Barcelona’s Geometric Beauty

Gabriel García Márquez Library

In the monthly feature, Library Passport, I Love Libraries satisfies its neverending wanderlust by highlighting exceptional libraries from around the world. Grab your passport and join us!

We’re in love with the Gabriel García Márquez Library in Barcelona, Spain. The library is dedicated to the Colombian Nobel laureate who lived in the city from 1967-1975 and specializes in Latin American literature. It opened to the public in June 2022, but had been in planning and production for almost a decade.

“The plan for the new library was under way when García Márquez died in 2014 so it was decided to name it in his honour because he and many other Latin American authors had a close relationship with the city,” Library Director Neus Castellano told The Guardian. “It’s a nod towards the role Barcelona has played in Latin American literature.”

Gabriel García Márquez LibraryDesigned by SUMA Arquitectura, the 5-story library is a geometric wonder inspired by Ildefonso Cerdá, whose design of the city’s Exiample district in the 19th century revolutionized both Barcelona and urban design worldwide. The octagonal-shaped building looks like a sculpture with sides adorned with vertical and horizontal panels that pull the eyes in different directions without looking busy or distracting. Inside, the library is situated around a large triangular courtyard with a staircase connecting the floors. “This large void allows natural light to reach the library, also acting as a ‘solar chimney,’” writes Lucia Brandoli in Domus.

The use of wood throughout the interior creates a warm, relaxing atmosphere. “The library … wants to look like a stack of open books, with folded and perforated pages,” writes Brandoli. “Each book’ is created by a structure of wood panels oriented in different directions, defined by structural needs, lighting conditions, functional program and urban connections.”

Learn more about the Gabriel García Márquez Library—and see more photos of this breathtaking space—at SUMA Arquitectura.

If you’d like to learn more about libraries from around the world, look no further than the American Library Association’s (ALA) International Relations Office. The office’s mission is to increase ALA’s presence in the global library community and promote a greater understanding of international librarianship and international library issues, among other things. The office does a lot of cool stuff, like the Sister Library program, which helps U.S. libraries set up partnerships with libraries abroad. Check it out!

Photos by Jesús Granada, courtesy of SUMA Arquitectura.

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