Dezeen Magazine

Villanueva Public Library, Colombia

Four young architects from Javeriana University in Bogotá have completed Villanueva Public Library in Casanare, Colombia.


Miguel Torres, German Ramirez, Alejandro Piñol and Carlos Meza won a national competition to design the building.


The building makes use of local materials including timber and stones from rivers to reduce transportation costs, and local people were trained to help construct it.


Here's some info provided by Carlos Meza:


Villanueva Public Library, Casanare-Colombia

Villanueva’s public library is the result of a national contest summoned by the Colombian Architect’s Society where the winners Miguel Torres, German Ramirez, Alejandro Piñol and Carlos Meza, architects from the Javeriana University Bogota-Colombia, all below 27 years of age, won first prize in this contest, and designed 3000 square meters for reading rooms, an auditorium, a kid’s library, staff offices, the building’s functioning facilities and an open space for social interaction.



Due to political circumstances and to the economy’s slow growth in this and hundreds of other towns across the Colombian territory, their inhabitants have suffered lack of cultural tools that allow them to reach, for instance, higher educational levels.


This situation has been confronted lately by the Ministry of Culture, local and district authorities in order to support this type of projects in the Colombian cities, including now less favored communities like Villanueva.


The strategies

With tight schedule and budget, a complex design effort was established, in which the requirements demanded by the program where met with creative and high quality solutions.


In order to obtain maximum efficiency from the design and its execution, a series of architectural strategies where traced, i.e. the use of local materials found in the surrounding areas like typical types of wood and river stones, thus avoiding material transport expenses.


Just like these materials, qualified work force came in its majority from the same zone. Those who didn’t have the required technical skills for this construction where benefited from quick personnel capacitating workshops, executed with strict supervision.


The architecture

The building’s tectonics were conceived in a very simple way. Here, the greatest efforts are focused on low technological development for the masses.


Although certain complexity of the shapes is sacrificed, it is also acquired in the design of the building’s skin creating a balanced contrast, full of texture and sober volumes.


This project was recently completed and now functions as a catalyst for social activities of the Town of Villanueva. It is a good exercise that tries to enhance an urban project with social interests and public impact, promoting a special development that overcomes poverty and inequality in the Colombian cities via architectonic quality.


Here, design guarantees an increase in value and returns an investment in time with education.


Photography by Nicolas Cabrera