Architecture

Mexico City library casts its books in a new light

In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own
In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own
View 22 Images
In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own
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In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own
Designed to house the personal library of Mexican diplomat Antonion Castro Leal, the Castro Leal Library in Mexico City won first prize in the institutional category in the 2012 Mexican Association of Interior Designers' AMDI Awards
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Designed to house the personal library of Mexican diplomat Antonion Castro Leal, the Castro Leal Library in Mexico City won first prize in the institutional category in the 2012 Mexican Association of Interior Designers' AMDI Awards
Linear strips of LED lights are mounted in each bookshelf
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Linear strips of LED lights are mounted in each bookshelf
Designed to house the personal library of Mexican diplomat Antonion Castro Leal, the Castro Leal Library in Mexico City won first prize in the institutional category in the 2012 Mexican Association of Interior Designers' AMDI Awards
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Designed to house the personal library of Mexican diplomat Antonion Castro Leal, the Castro Leal Library in Mexico City won first prize in the institutional category in the 2012 Mexican Association of Interior Designers' AMDI Awards
A series of tightly-packed skylights ensure that, during the hours of daylight, the library is positively bathed in natural illumination
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A series of tightly-packed skylights ensure that, during the hours of daylight, the library is positively bathed in natural illumination
Pale floors and furniture contrast with the shelves
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Pale floors and furniture contrast with the shelves
A series of tightly-packed skylights ensure that, during the hours of daylight, the library is positively bathed in natural illumination
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A series of tightly-packed skylights ensure that, during the hours of daylight, the library is positively bathed in natural illumination
Linear strips of LED lights are mounted in each bookshelf
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Linear strips of LED lights are mounted in each bookshelf
Designed to house the personal library of Mexican diplomat Antonion Castro Leal, the Castro Leal Library in Mexico City won first prize in the institutional category in the 2012 Mexican Association of Interior Designers' AMDI Awards
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Designed to house the personal library of Mexican diplomat Antonion Castro Leal, the Castro Leal Library in Mexico City won first prize in the institutional category in the 2012 Mexican Association of Interior Designers' AMDI Awards
In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own
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In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own
In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own
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In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own
Castro Leal Library design drawing
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Castro Leal Library design drawing
Castro Leal Library design drawing
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Castro Leal Library design drawing
Castro Leal Library design drawing
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Castro Leal Library design drawing
Castro Leal Library design drawing
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Castro Leal Library design drawing
Castro Leal Library design sketch
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Castro Leal Library design sketch
Castro Leal Library design sketch
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Castro Leal Library design sketch
Castro Leal Library design sketch
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Castro Leal Library design sketch
Castro Leal Library design sketch
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Castro Leal Library design sketch
Castro Leal Library design sketch
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Castro Leal Library design sketch
Castro Leal Library design sketch
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Castro Leal Library design sketch
Castro Leal Library design sketch
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Castro Leal Library design sketch

Designed to house the personal library of Mexican diplomat Antonion Castro Leal, the Castro Leal Library in Mexico City won first prize in the institutional category in the 2012 Mexican Association of Interior Designers' AMDI Awards. And looking at the interior shots, it's not hard to see why.

Linear strips of LED lights are mounted in each bookshelf, which obviously makes the job of finding books somewhat easier. In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own: the books seem to positively glow - an effect only emphasized by the choice of dark wood (hopefully sustainably sourced) for the shelves.

Visually at least, the choice of materials is striking: pale floors and furniture contrast with the shelves, and opaque glass walkways put the upper-most shelves within reach.

Pale floors and furniture contrast with the shelves
Pale floors and furniture contrast with the shelves

A series of tightly-packed skylights ensure that, during the hours of daylight, the library is positively bathed in natural illumination, and other than the bookshelf LEDs, artificial lighting appears to have been kept to an absolute minimum.

Buildings with highly-specialized uses lend themselves to highly-specialized and bold designs. Commendably, the architects at BGP Arquitectura have made the Castro Leal Library all about the books.

Source: BGP Arquitectura, via Arch Daily

6 comments
Slowburn
The first feature of a good library is that it protects the books from the elements; skylights are notorious for leaking.
Bawb
A good library should also protect the contents from light.
Benjamin Zeng
It's not the visible spectrum of light (from the leds) that damages the books, its the UV rays from natural sunlight.
kellory
Too much natural light will destroy the books, causing binding to crack and split, pages will deteriorate, inks fade. A major storm and a broken skylight, and your library is gone. Another issue is fire. skylights breach very quickly during a fire, turning your books to ash in the shortest possible time. Library LOOKS well thought out, but was not.
eskenig
Does anyone know the brand of led light strips used?
Bill Bennett
eskenig, lumiabulbs.com my house is 100% LED right down to the under cabinets lights in the kitchen, very bitchin' yes even my outside flood lights
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