Municipal Library in Nembro, Italy by Archea Associati

Architecture & Interiors

 Nembro is a small town near Bergamo, in Italy. In 2002, the municipality commissioned the well known Italian architects Archea Associati, based in Florence, to design their library. It was not an easy task, as they had to incorporate an end of 19th century c-shaped building (formerly a primary school) into the design.


Galileo Chini, one of the few artists of the new Liberty movement to
have made his name in Florence, associated in particular with
ceramics, was the inspiration for the project. The extension is situated in front of the opening of the c-shape, forming an open court with the old building.


The new
wing could not be more different than the old structure.  A
transparent glass volume is surrounded by a façade of 40×40 cm red
glazed earthenware tiles held in place by a frame of steel
profiles, a construction method that enables the tiles to rotate and so
act as a sunscreen for the glazed inner façades. The result is a
distinctive ‘screen’ wall in which closed and open planes alternate in
a continuous pattern created by the rotating ceramic elements.


The custom-made glazed terracotta tiles come from the ancient furnaces of the firm Sannini of Impruneta. The faces of the ’books’, weigh 13 kg each . Indirect sunlight is diffused inside, filtered as if through the slats of a Venetian blind so as never to fall directly on users of the library. The color of the tiles reminds one of the red marble of the area.


The new and old buildings are connected with an underground level. In this way,  the courtyard forms the roof of a large hall that ends at the four-level elevation of the “bookcase-building”.


The building takes a whole different aspect at night: the light from within is diffused outside through the tiles, making the building seem lightweight and airy. as if dissolving into the evening sky.


The old building was restored fully while the new one was constructed. The construction period was from 2005 to 2007 and covers an area of 1875.51 square meters.

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1 Comment

  1. David Glazer

    Apr 19, 2013 at 8:42 am

    The Nembro municipal library by Archea Associati is an architectural masterpiece which caused me an emotional , aesthetic enchantment .

    David Glazer , Israel .

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