Elsa Morante Library by DAP Studio

The pre-existing building for the new Lonate Ceppino Public Library already belonged to Lonate Ceppino’s historical heritage. On a rectangular plan, the two levelled buildings housed the civic library on the ground floor, while the first floor had been left unused. From the outside, the main entrance façade has a higher decorative part which is independent from the roof structure. This façade stands out further on the building gutter line and laterally its design suggests the idea of an unfinished bell tower. In this case, neither the bidimensional outline has a counterpart in the interiors. A few ornamental elements mark the façade hierarchies. The design of the fronts is organized in horizontal bands at different heights while on the north, south and west fronts a system of vertical pilasters apportions the windows on both floors. The east front lacks any decoration and, before the intervention, it was badly compromised by a recently built volume for the service rooms.
The intervention aimed to restore the historical pre-existing building and to adapt the new building to its re-gained functional use. Being inadequate, the previous service’s volume extension was removed together with the internal stairs, which were damaged and not according to laws. The project restored many areas injured by dampness, plasters, floorings and roofing.
Besides the east front a new well balanced volume has been built, including bathrooms, archives and technical systems. This last choice allowed to clear the historical building out of the functional and potentially invading elements, minimizing any demolition and making the facility rooms easier to share.
The new volume’s architecture is marked by a narrower profile on its top, with a sloping side that restrains to give more space to the historical building pitches. The dialogue between the volumes is the key and main theme leading the whole intervention. The relationship between the two is nourished by juxtaposition between matterness and lightness, solidity and instability, opaque and reflecting materials.