Monza library

Bisset Adams, well known as designers and architects of Tower Hamlets ‘Idea Stores’ partnered with Turin-based practice Area Progetti to win this prestigious competition for a two-phase project for a new 6,000 sq metre library in Monza, within a historic barracks building.

The design is a bold insertion within the historic building in the heart of Monza, creating a vibrant and engaging community library as a centre of reading, learning, study, meeting, working and socialising.

The brief referenced the Idea Stores as an innovative model, and Deputy Head of Idea Stores, Sergio Dogliani, was an key member of the team.

The design features a new volume within the original courtyard of the barracks, with innovative glass and metal facades, extending over the public square. On entering the visitor has an immediate impression of the space on various levels, with a staircase leading up to one side of the main area, which is rich in books, information, technology and informal seating.

The design is based around the concept of the Tree of Knowledge, both the construction and journeys through the space symbolising the growth and branches of human knowledge and understanding. The tree concept is figured in both the angled pillars supporting the central addition, in real trees growing through the storeys, and in the abstract leaf pattern of the fritted façade.

To the rear of the building, a new auditorium, café and gallery space surround an open courtyard. The library is designed to be a rich and inclusive space, and includes a dedicated young people’s library.