Taltal Public Library by Murúa-Valenzuela

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Daylight floods into the reading rooms of this Chilean library though the high level windows of faceted ventilation stacks.

Designed by architects Murúa-Valenzuela, the three-storey-high library is located in the coastal town of Taltal, where it faces a public square and recently completed theatre.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

The reading rooms are occupy the two lower levels, while group study areas and balconies are located on the top floor.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Doors at the back of the library lead out through a small courtyard to a second building, which houses a private office.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Murua-Valenzuela previously designed an interesting house on a hillside - see our story about it here.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Photography is by Macarena Álvarez.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Here's a little more information from Benjamín Murúa and Rodrigo Valenzuela:


Taltal Public Library

Taltal is a coastal town in the Antofagasta Region, 306 Km. south of the city of Antofagasta and 25.4 degrees latitude south.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

The project to design the new public library arose from a public competition process petitioned by the Municipality of Taltal in 2008.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Our firm submitted a project which received the first place selection.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

The new library´s site was a municipal plot, facing Taltal´s central square, and near the recently remodelled Alhambra Theater.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

The idea was to form a cultural network between the theater and the new library.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

The dimensions of the site—40 meters long and 7 meters wide—highly influenced and defined the special organisation of the building.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

We decided to divide the design into three floors, creating spaces of varied height that depend on the type of reading room.

Taltal Public Library by Murúa-Valenzuela

There is also an interior patio that divides public areas with internal working areas, apart from serving as an informal reading space.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

One of the issues that we took into consideration when developing the project was that the building would be higher than the average height of the rest of the city´s buildings.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Hence, we would have a 7 meter façade facing the square, and two dividing walls of 40 meters each—80 meters all together—that would be visible from a large portion of the city.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Due to this factor, we decided to work the walls as façades instead of simply perceiving them as dividing walls.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

This idea influenced in several ways, including the design of large skylights that illuminate the main hall, as well as applying a texture with visual designs to the exterior cement walling.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

On the first two floors of the building we used a structure involving support pillars and beamed tiles in order to free up the interior space almost entirely.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

On the upper levels, we decided to create some volume with metallic structures, sheathing them with wavy metal plates.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

To achieve the relief texture on the exterior cementing, we worked together with both a cement company and a formwork company.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

The idea behind this was to create a wall whose surface changes colors along with the changes in texture.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

The design pattern reproduces ornamental figures that we found in the Alhambra Theater and also on several other buildings in the city.

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Architects: Benjamín Murúa, Rodrigo Valenzuela
Location: Taltal, Chile – Region of Antofagasta

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Development: Ximena Vallejos, Miguel Mallea

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

Project Year: 2008
Construction: 2009-2010

Taltal Public Library by Murua Valenzuela Architects

  • Nic Howett

    Would it not be annoying that the book shelves can never be filled and the angled divisions are not the most economical use of bookshelf space?

    Perhaps it is the brightness of the photographs, but I feel I would get a headache reading in that light!

  • jan

    Love the architecture. But please can somebody get them some new furniture