New Town Library in Maranello by
Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

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A glazed reading room appears to float over the still waters of a shallow pool at this town library in Maranello, Italy, by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and Italian architect Andrea Maffei (+ slideshow).

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

The curving glass facade wiggles back and forth to form the building's perimeter, while study areas behind the glass offer visitors a view out across the water towards the ivy-covered walls that bound the site.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

"The volume is mirrored on a body of water that reflects the intense color of the ivy onto the surrounding walls and surfaces," said Andrea Maffei.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

The glass facade straightens up at the building's entrance, although a semi-circular canopy extends outwards to continue the curved outline.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

Beyond the reception, a single reading room occupies most of the ground floor and is filled with white furniture that can accommodate up to 90 visitors at a time.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

"In the interior of the building the absolute white resin pavement and white furniture captures the green hues of the greenery that is reflected from the continuous glazed surfaces of the curvilinear façade," added Maffei. "The light that pervades the open space of the library is exhibited in a play of reflections that bounce from the white elements of the furniture, the floors and structure, to the water and the continuous transparent glass."

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

A local history archive and small playroom are also located on this floor, while stairs lead down to a digital archive, lecture space and meeting room in the basement.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

Maffei previously spent several years working in Arata Isozaki's Tokyo studio and the pair have since teamed up on a number of projects that are underway elsewhere in Italy.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

Other projects we've featured by Arata Isozaki include a modular office block in Barcelona and an inflatable concert hall he designed with Anish Kapoor.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

See more libraries on Dezeen, including the Folkwang Library where glass walls look like marble.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

Photography is by Alessandra Chemollo.

Here's some more information from the architects:


The new Town Library in Maranello, Italy, designed by architects Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, opened to the public on November 19, 2011. Built near the center of the city, it substantiates the effective synergy between a public administration that of Maranello - which is investing in pursuing an architecture of quality - and the designers: Arata Isozaki, one of the most celebrated masters of contemporary Japanese architectural culture, and Andrea Maffei, Italian architect who worked in Isozaki’s studio in Tokyo for several years and is now co-designing with him several projects in Italy, currently in development.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

The building defines a rarefied space that is perfectly placed within the urban fabric. Its sinuous profiles are bound by glass plates that follow its contour: reading becomes an “open” experience by means of the transparent membrane that forms the façade. It manifests as an interaction between knowledge and the contemplation of the landscape that surrounds the library.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

The building expresses a dialogue with the urban fabric through the transparency of its body. The objective, on the part of the architects, was to establish a direct interaction with the city. Situated within a residential area, the library takes the place of a pre-existing building whose traces can still be found as the northern, eastern and southern exterior walls. These walls are covered with ivy, which along with the reflecting pools at the foot of the glazed perimeter make up the new natural horizons that are offered to the readers and patrons of the library.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

As of today, the new Library in Maranello offers the community an environment in which to read, study, learn and enjoy a space that is suspended over a body of water and enveloped by greenery.

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

Above: ground floor plan - click above for larger image

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

Above: basement plan - click above for larger image

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

Above: roof plan - click above for larger image

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

Above: section aa - click above for larger image

New Town Library in Maranello by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

Above: section bb - click above for larger image

  • http://ummhello.com thomas

    SANAA lite.

    • HDT

      Jinx! I thought exactly the same thing.

    • rob

      Isozaki – he must be close to 90 nowadays – experimented with these concepts decades before SANAA. In general one can notice a serious lack of historical consciousness nowadays. Would be good if Dezeen could spare a bit of space once in a while to do some education: just to show that the new generations of designers (although often very talented) are reinventing the wheel most of the time.

  • Nicky

    Was there any consideration of acoustics?

  • jas

    Also surprisingly similar to this project by Polyform (DK) http://www.polyformarkitekter.dk/kontor-center-fo

  • Concerned Citizen

    All that glass with views of nothing more than blank walls. What design?

  • D.O

    Does anyone else read this as: SANAA-wannabe? Curved glass? Slender white columns? White slab and gypsum finish?

  • Greenish

    Well, I think it’s beautiful! You don’t need views when you’re reading a good book. You need peace and tranquility, and this delivers both in a really simple and lovely way.

    The water is very effective: in some environments it might seem an odd choice when there could be garden or communal space, but in the case of a library it seems completely appropriate. I don’t like to break out the cliched “zen” but it seems really apt here.

  • jan

    Any idea who is a manufacturer of led table lamps?