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Remodeling Project for the Irpin Public Library

As a result of the experiences after the delivery of the draft of the Memorial fot the Victims of the Massacre of Irpin and Bucha, the Mayor of the City of Irpin and his technical teams request our office the architectural development of the remodeling and rehabilitation of the current building where the Irpin City Public Library is located.

The commission from the Irpin authorities was very clear: this new Public Library must be an artistic, modern, conceptual and sensitive work that allows the construction of an innovative, creative space that embodies the liberation of the old concepts inherited from the Soviet era, collecting and assess relevant aspects of the Irpin community and landscape.

Project Type: Public Infrastructure/ Remodeling.

Imagen: New Irpin Public Library

Project premises

The Place

One of the buildings that suffered minor damage was the high-rise apartment building made of prefabricated materials from the Soviet era, very characteristic and of great emotional charge in the collective memory of the city's civic district, embodying all the concepts and characteristics spatial and stylistic aspects of Stalinist construction.

In its plinth, which is displaced from the structural axes and the load-bearing structure of the prefabricated apartment building, standing out as an independent unitary volume that advances towards the public and civic space that makes up the Civic Plaza and the Municipal building. It is in this volume that configures the plinth of this old and resentful apartment building, where the current Public Library is located.

Basic diagnosis about the actual library

  • This plinth volume is built on a single level and is structured with a sequential system of interior walls that compartmentalize its spaces and programs, constituting a segmented and discontinuous space, which, due to its over-structuring, prevents the entry of light. natural and the conception of the library program and its different areas, as a continuous and compact unitary space, complicating the development of the experience of library and teaching use.

  •  Its main façade attempts to build a forced neoclassical style, full of cladding and eclectic decorative details, without achieving a spatial and urban dialogue with the scale and significance of the Civic Square and the Municipal Building it faces.

  • Inside, it is an overstructured, labyrinthine, twisted space in terms of natural light, hyper compartmentalized, designed with a logic that prevents the free meeting and interaction of people inside; a true space of control and social supervision, faithful representative of the Soviet era.

Project Fundamentals

The library as a habitable glass box

A first design image is constituted by the conception of the library as a habitable glass box, open, transparent, full of light, which contains, cares for, protects and presents, as a gift to the city, its most precious jewels and treasures: the books.

The library as a new space of freedom, fluency and spatial interconnection

The library is conceived as a new space of freedom in the city, based on the architectural fusion between perception and the experience of simultaneously inhabiting the interior and exterior space, blurring its perceptive limits through the dematerialization of the wall full of planes by using clear glass.

The Main Building Site: The Zocalo

The library is found as a plinth resulting from the displacement of the structural axes and load-bearing structure of the tall classic prefabricated housing building of Stalinist construction that faces the central square of the city. The library is configured as the plinth of this resentful building, being a unitary and structurally independent volume.

Architectural Proposal

The project develops an architectural reformulation to transform this Soviet space into a new space, full of natural light, freedom and spatial and programmatic continuity, which encourages the free meeting of the people who will inhabit it.


Like the volume of the plinth, it is of a single level, set on the lower edge of the high-rise apartment building, and projecting outside its structural limits, it provides the possibility of stripping it of all that forced neoclassical over-structuring, to free up its interior space, to generate great spatial and visual continuity.

For such purposes, through the use of large longitudinal planes of continuous glass, the project builds a glass box that, as a new transparent perimeter, allows the boundaries between the interior and exterior of the library to be blurred, and to produce the entrance of the public space of the Civic Square, its ornamental trees and the main facade of the Municipal Building, building a new experience of spatial and programmatic freedom inside. 

Being in the library, we will have the protected and silent feeling of reading a book in the Civic Square without really being.

A new Terrace for the City

In this way, the structural independence of this plinth from the larger building will allow us to build a habitable roof, transforming that old dirty and undervalued roof into a habitable terrace accessible from the new library, forming a new public space, which will move part of the existing cafeteria to that level, where all this new space, from another height that has been gained by the project, will be able to integrate and enjoy the wide civic space of the Civic Plaza, from a new urban experience in a protected way : the construction of an urban balcony to enjoy this great public space.


New Terrace for the Main Square

Both spatiality, the dimension of the exterior urban terrace and balcony with the fluid, continuous and transparent space inside the space of the new library, are connected through large zenithal openings, generated by transparent interior glazed volumes that allow, without to interrupt the fluidity and spatial continuity of the interior of the library, to build true islands of study and specific concentration.

Imagen: Terrace of the new Irpin Public Library

Finally, this same longitudinal structural strip of bookcases, which runs from end to end the entire length of the interior space of the new library, allows the generation of a thickness built by the books they contain which, as a transitional space , separate the free and fluid space of the new library, from the old service area and warehouses, contained in the old structural system of the existing apartment building, radically marking its conceptual and architectural difference.

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Imagen: Library Section

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