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Mexico Public Library José Vasconcelos

Pablo Casals-Aguirre

A floating network of human knowledge.

Outstretched steel beams, tensile rods and tightly strung cables form a massive structural network hung from the ceiling of the Biblioteca Pública de Mexico Jose Vasconcelos, designed by Taller de Arquitectura X. Pablo Casals-Aguirre leads us through this tensile system, showing us the connection between the structure and human activity in the library.

We observe how people move through and interact with the structure, almost becoming a part of it themselves. Casals-Aguirre's footage shows a mixture between people's activity and the bare structure. He even focuses briefly on a single joint, allowing us to imagine the shifting weight it distributes as people and books are dispersed in the crystalline labyrinth of glass and steel.

People move through the network, borrowing and relocating pieces of human knowledge by displacing the contents of the shelves. Their movement is exaggerated by time lapses that show the library filling up and emptying out over the course of a day.

A shot of the massive array of empty shelves reveals the importance of the community to the project. The structure by itself is nothing. The network serves as a platform for people who wish to participate in the exchange and distribution of information. The life of the library comes from the occupants themselves.


Architect: Taller de Arquitectura X
Mentioned project: Mexico Public Library "José Vasconcelos" (2004-2007)
Project location: Mexico City, Mexico
Music: Tony Anderson, Spirit
Editing: Sebastián Milla
Sound design: Francisco Sanchez, ¨Y si los árboles¨

Mexico 2013
Duration: 4'07''