Mexican studio JSa has installed a walnut-lined wing to the José Vasconcelos Library in Mexico City to house the personal book collection of celebrated author Carlos Monsiváis (+ slideshow).
The Carlos Monsiváis Personal Library is one of five new spaces created inside the public library as part of the City of Books initiative, which asked five different architects to showcase the literary influences of a popular Mexican thinker. JSa's interior is the last to complete, following wings dedicated to poet Alí Chumacero, diplomat Antonio Castro Leal, academic José Luis Martínez and writer Jaime García Terrés.
The library occupies a long and narrow double-height space. Staircases are positioned on both sides and lead up to a first-floor mezzanine that runs around the outside of the room.
Bookshelves stretch up to the ceiling throughout the space. The size and proportions of the shelves vary, creating an arrangement of books intended to reflect the layout in the writer's original library.
"Carlos Monsiváis lived in chaos," JSa told Dezeen. "He had stacks of books everywhere; it was a disaster but he knew where everything was. All those stacks left tight spaces to walk through. We tried to reflect those spaces in the library to reflect the kind of way he lived."
Single-person study spaces are located on the upper level and comprise a series of walnut desks and chairs, while larger spaces for groups occupy two areas on the ground floor.
Artworks by Mexican Francisco Toledo - a personal friend of Monsiváis - are dotted around the library and include a patterned marble floor.
JSa is led by Mexican architect Javier Sanchez and has offices in Mexico City and in Peru. This year the firm also completed Tabasco 127, a concrete residential block that features sheltered balconies.
Photography is by Jaime Navarro.
Here's some more information from JSa:
The Carlos Monsiváis Personal Library
Located in the west wing of the "Jose Vasconcelos" Library in Mexico, the personal library of Carlos Monsivais will be a space where the personal collection created by the writer's mind will be safeguarded for public use.
The architectural project has as a starting point a selection of specific characteristics of Carlos Monsivais and seeks to translate them into spatial qualities. Order within Chaos, is the first impression that inspired the architecture. The second guiding axis is the special relationship the writer had with the city. These two identifiers are interpreted and expressed in a space that generates a tour, guided using blocks that present various alternatives in three dimensions. The user must walk the site to understand it. The intention here is that despite the enclosure, the user may have different perceptions and experiences. The various blocks that generate the tours are formed by sets of bookshelves that vary in dimensions and textures and which generate different shades of color.
The library is done on two levels. What characterizes the first level is that it offers the possibility of several tours. It also has tight spaces because of the bookshelves that allude to the writer's original library. The second level instead follows a circuit that allows an extensive view of the whole space. The different tours converge into two different open areas where one can read the collections. These areas have double height and natural light.
Above: ground floor plan
The library holds several art pieces of Francisco Toledo, renowned painter and sculptor, including the design of the marble floor, who was a close friend of the writer.
Above: first floor plan
All together, the different elements that make up the library seek to help bring the visitor closer to the writer.
Above: long section one
Above: long section two
Above: cross section