Turnip won the 1st prize of an ideas competitions for a new courtyard roof for the public library of Asti, a little town in the north of Italy.
The library is located inside a recently renovated convent, developed all around a vast courtyard, where many events took place every year.
The aim of the competition was about a solution for a new covered multipurpose room, in order to offer a new space for many kind of events throughout the year.
Our proposal started from a precise site analysis. The public library is located at the ground floor and an important secondary school is located in the upper floors.
The diffuse natural light brought by the courtyard and the upper floors view to the courtyard have been two themes that caught our attention since the beginning.
In order not to subtract the natural light to the upper school, we decided to position the roof level between ground floor and first floor, following the existing façade design.
This position creates an interior space of 4 meters high where concerts, lectures or other events could easily take place.
The school view to the new roof was really important for our proposal, in order to let all the students having an enjoyable environment every day.
We made many options that convinced us to propose a light water layer on the roof, offering new reflections and light to all the people will have to see the new intervention every day.
The use of water on the top of the building is also very interesting as a low-tech tool for sustainability, naturally balancing interior temperatures.
We were interested in bringing here something symbolic, not made by an heavy presence but through the light reflections of the water.
Another important theme was the use of the new covered space for 400 people, an autonomous glassed space detached from the existing facades.
We designed two plans one for using the building for big events and another one for the every day use. Many little rooms (reading spaces, study rooms, meeting rooms) divided by light curtains, are placed under the water roof, offering an everyday reverisble program.
As we said, natural light was very important for us. For this reason we opened many skylights on the roof bringing light to the lower part. The presence of bright light is one of the nicest features of this place and was one of our main concerns that made us deciding for a bigger roof opening to a green patio.
This little place, rounded by benches and places to talk and meet people, let more natural light coming inside and give to people a new space to enjoy the presence of the existing building, the green area and the new reflections from the skylights.
We also faced to another theme, thinking about the possible use of the in-between space we have between the new transparent conference room and the existing building.
Studying many libraries references of architects we’re interested in like Boullèe or Alvaro Siza we discovered an interesting continuity. Our main references and many others share some common point like the natural light balance, the external circulation system and a reversible central space.
We found interesting to keep this imaginary connection, bringing natural light from roof windows, placing a long shared table all around the building and leaving a big reversible space in the center.
Our proposal was all made by these themes: water, natural light, freedom of use and memory.