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Factory of Words

Building Pictures

Being actors and spectators of a designed space.

The architect himself explains his project and his vision in this short film by Building Picture on the Biblioteca Municipal de Vila Franca de Xira (Portugal).

The camera slowly approaches the monolithic white building as Miguel Arruda (Miguel Arruda Arquitectos) narrates the complex relationship between the design and the location. The video underlines and envisions the words of the architect, and makes visible and clear his intention of finding a well balanced connection with the spectacular surrounding river waterfront and the history of such a complex place to deal with. The presence of a former  factory heavily influenced the design, that actually reinterpreted the shape of the preexisting silos and their height.

Building Picture's video explores how the series of interconnected floors of the library generate a situation of "vertical reading" and are suspended in an high open space, where multiple perspectives and glimpses give people the possibility of seeing and being seen, of being actors and spectators at the same time. What is clear is Arruda's priority to generate a special appropriation of space by the everyday visitors and to broaden the use of the space of the library to a larger audience. A combination of live footage frames and of photographs by Fernando Guerra shows how people of all ages move around the different areas of the building and comfortably take possession of its spaces.

Also, the video "Fábrica das Palavras" narrates how the library has become an essential reference point for the city of Vila Franca, a unique connection between the waterfront and the urban area through its elevated transparent metal bridge over the railway. The short documentary offers viewers a spectacular glimpses over the city and its waterfront, while at the same time allowing a full understanding of the architect's vision through his words.


Architect: Miguel Arruda Arquitectos
Mentioned project: Biblioteca Municipal Vila Franca de Xira (2015)
Project location: Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal
Production: Building Pictures
Photos: Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
Music: Kirk Pearson

Portugal 2015
Duration: 7'51''