Estudio Beldarrain Uses Reclaimed Railway Sleepers To Extend Spanish Library

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Railway sleepers form the walls of this extension to a library in Azkoitia, Spain, which is found at the town’s former railway station.

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

Made by Spanish studio Estudio Beldarrain, the Aizkibel Library extension adjoins the outdated station developing, which had already been converted into a library but was in need of much more space.

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

The disused railway track had been cleared away from the website, leaving the old building out of context. So Estudio Beldarrain used recycled sleepers to generate a contemporary extension that references the site’s history.

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

The extension requires the form of a group of tiny tower blocks – a shape dictated by the design of the spaces within. Italian studio Gianluca Gelmini took a related approach for a copper-clad stairwell to a library housed in a medieval tower.


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“A sculpted box with an irregular shape, will take the new expansion of the library,” said Estudio Beldarrain.

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

“Its hefty cover created of wooden railway sleepers evokes the history of the building, almost as if when the tracks have been dismantled the old sleepers had been stacked close to the station.”

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

The extension’s rough, dark visual appeal is at odds with the pale decorative stucco facade of the station residence – an intentional contrast conceived so as not to compete with the traditional type of the old building.

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

A metal-framed entrance protrudes from the base of the extension, which prospects into a lobby. The upper floors are occupied by toilets and a stairwell, freeing up the rest of the main building for library space.

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

Right here, three 133-square-metre rooms are subdivided with partitions to provide shelving for various genres of books.

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

Windows and terraces to the south side of the extension overlook a lengthy boulevard where the train tracks once stood.

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

“The use of the aged wood as the facade materials makes it possible for the architecture and park to relate, precisely since of its organic problem,” added the architects.

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain

Photography is by Jon Cazenave.


Task credits:

Undertaking: Estudio Beldarrain – Juan Beldarrain
Collaborating architects: Marta Badiola, Itziar Combarros, Iker Garmendia, Román Arrizabalaga
Developer: Council of Azkoitia
Executive management: Asier Arambarri
Installations: Inconor Ingenieros Consultores
Framework: Construbrik

Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio BeldarrainWebsite strategy – click for more substantial image Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio BeldarrainGround floor plan – click for bigger picture Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio BeldarrainFirst floor program – click for greater picture Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio Beldarrain2nd floor plan – click for bigger image Library extension in Azkoitia by Estudio BeldarrainArea – click for greater image


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