In 1961, the project by Clorindo Testa, Francisco Bullrich, and Alicia Cazzaniga won the design competition to build the Mariano Moreno National Library of the Argentine Republic. The library is named after Mariano Moreno, one of the ideologists of the May Revolution.
National Library of Argentina Technical Information
- Architects: Clorindo Testa, Francisco Bullrich and Alicia Cazzaniga
- Location: Agüero 2502, Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Material: Reinforced Concrete
- Typology: Cultural Architecture / Library
- Style: Brutalism
- Scale: 10-story building
- Design Year: 1962
- Construction Years: 1971 – 1992
- Drawings: © Clorindo Testa
- Photographs: © ArchEyes
In countries people are different which make cities different. The city is like that because its people are like that.– Clorindo Testa1
National Library of Argentina Photographs
Following a politically-motivated demolition of the Unzué Palace in 1958, the site was designated for constructing the National Library of the Argentine Republic.
In 1961, the project by Clorindo Testa, Francisco Bullrich, and Alicia Cazzaniga won the design competition, but construction did not begin until 1971. The new library was inaugurated in 1992 after successive changes in government leadership and bureaucracies, along with certain indifferences towards cultural matters.
The project’s main objective was to preserve the site’s existing vegetation surrounded by parks. The architects decided to raise the reading rooms above the treetops to generate a new viewpoint of the city and to bury the deposits. In between, a public esplanade was developed to give access to the library that could be used for outdoor cultural/recreational activities.
The whole building is supported by four massive cores that host the vertical circulations giving a monumental character to the building. The reading rooms float in space and overlook the city to reinforce the strong plasticity of the building. The two underground levels host book deposits, offices, and newspaper archives.
In the final phase of construction, Clorindo Testa, Francisco Bullrich, and Alicia Cazzaniga were removed from the construction administration, and some details were modified. Changes in the auditorium coverings, flooring materials, and furniture were designed ad hoc. Also, for budgetary reasons, the metal sunshades of the facade were removed from the project. They were going to diffuse the light inside the reading rooms protecting readers from the intense sun of the city of Buenos Aires.
National Library of Argentina Floor Plan
National Library of Argentina Image Gallery
About Clorinda Testa
Clorindo Manuel José Testa was born in Naples, Italy but moved to Argentina as a child. He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 1948.
He was one of the Argentine rationalist movement’s leaders and one of the country’s pioneers of the brutalist movement. His artistic nature influenced his architectural style: the effects of color, tension, metaphors, and plasticity.
- – Clorindo Testa: Architect by de Clorindo Testa