A library-park, a reading square and a hanging garden

International competition for the new BEIC – New European Library in Milan

The library model has evolved over centuries from the “wall-building”, a protected fortress of knowledge, not accessible to everyone, towards an increasingly open and democratic idea of ​​access to culture.

The building opens up more and more to the city, offering maximum contact with books, creating a meeting place, in a broad sense, an urban object with multiple functions, the real public space par excellence.

This public space today can materialize the need to open towards the surroundings, offer a space of well-being, mentally and physically, generous in spatial terms and including the natural element as a further declination of the gathering and discovering.

Our library-park gives back to the city the green space, subtracted for its construction, offering a large suspended garden where, thanks to the big roof with an organic structure, one can enjoys ponds and fruit trees.

The new library opens onto a new Reading Square, which offers different formal and informal ways of reading and allows the continuity of paths and greenery to the east.

A continuous promenade, that crosses the building in all directions, as a new Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, develops itself in the third dimension, with the possibility of climbing on the roof both from the outside, in continuity with the existing park, and from the inside, with the large ramp that wraps around the central patio.

The new library is an extroverted building, where the interiors expand towards intermediate spaces: the green terraces which surround each level; the three internal patios; the external spaces, such as the children’s garden, integrated into the new reading square; the large panoramic garden roof.

The program is developed horizontally to eliminate the physical distance between knowledge and disciplines promoting what Umberto Eco described as one of the most interesting feature for a library: discovering books that we didn’t suspect the existence, and yet that turns out to be of extreme importance to us.

Type/Program: Public Building – Mixed Functions (Library, Auditorium, Multimedia Forum, Imaginarium-Space for kids, Retail)
Client: Milan Municipality
Year: 2022
Location: Milan, Italy
Data: Site area 15.200 sqm
Gross Floor Area 30.000 sqm
Status: International competition

Urban, Architectural and Landscape Design: Quinzii Terna Architecture (Chiara Quinzii, Diego Terna) + Atelier Bow-Wow (Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Momoyo Kaijima, Yoichi Tamai)
Structures: Mitsuhiro Kanada + Virginio Brocajoli
Installations: FEBR–Studio Ferrari e Brocajoli
Young architect: Fabio Samele
Collaborators: Yajun Cao, Chiba Daiki, Damla Kınasakal, Anastasiia Paukaeva, Saori Toyoshima
Images: Studio Bark