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2016 MCHAP

Public Library of Constitucion

Sebastian Irarrázaval

Constitucion, Chile

December 2015


Sebastian Irarrazaval


Macarena Burdiles (Collaborator) Carlos Pesquera (Collaborator) Alicia Arguelles (Collaborator) Joel Barrera (Technical Inspection) Sebastian Mancera (Practicioner / Models) Felipe Cardemil (Engineer) Constructora Proessa (Construction)


Fundación La Fuente


Felipe Díaz


Constitución is a small settlement situated in the very core of one of the biggest clusters of wood production in Chile. This situation gives identity to the town and also creates the best conditions to find not only high quality wood materials but also extremely well gifted carpenters to carefully craft a wooden building. With regard to the formalization of the project; it is the result of three main objectives. Firstly: In order to overlook the millenary trees of the civic square that is in front of the site; to rise the library 1,6 meters over street level. Secondly: With the purpose to filter and balance the light; to cover the 3 main areas of the program (children, young and adult readers) with 3 reticulated wood naves and Thirdly: In consideration to communicate the public character of the edifice; to organize the façade with 3 monumental glass cases that not only invites to see new books arrivals but also -with its benches and canopies - offer shelter to the passerby. Regarding the construction of the building; it is made almost entirely in wood and only the firewalls are done with exposed poured concrete. The structure is prefabricated and is made out of laminated pine. In order to rhythm the interior space and to make the loads and the construction process understandable, the wood beams an pillars are kept as visible as possible. Coating the wood with water white varnish enhances the required luminosity of the spaces and also creates homogeneity between the structure and the on site built furniture. The other colors that can be seen in fabrics were chosen to mimic the colors of the trees and leaves of the square. In this sense the library can be seen as a resonance box.


The Public Library is part of a public-private initiative taken to rebuild the city of Constitución after the 8.8 degrees earthquake and tsunami that devastated the town during the year 2010. It is part of PRES Constitución, a Masterplan that considers several project, among them, housing and public buildings. Promoters of this specific project are the Municipality -who owns the site-, Fundación la Fuente - a non-profit institution that promotes reading around the country- that coordinated the building process , Bank Itau, that financed the construction and Arauco, the biggest wooden company in Chile, that owns a cellulose factory in the city and lead the reconstruction process through the above mentioned Masterplan.


The Library is located in the core of the town, beside the civic square. It is a public building with a specific mission; to promote the love for books In order to achieve this, it creates the best conditions for reading: balanced light, acoustic comfort and visual control. Beside that it invites the passerby to enter with a friendly facade that gives shelter and creates complicity, becoming a building that cares for the common realm, not only inside but also outside it. From the opening , the library has become an appealing place to gather among books. A constant and large Influx of visitors corroborates the importance of this building for the inhabitants of Constitución. More than in a context mostly deprived of good quality public architecture and also deprived of its architectonic patrimony.

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