Lateran University Library Extension
The Lateran University Library in Rome found itself unable to cope with the growing number of books and the increasing requests from users. This resulted in the decision to create a new building to house a large, public reading room with annexed archives, easily accessible from both the external plaza and, via a first floor corridor, from the adjacent university buildings. The new structure with the reading rooms is volumetrically characterized by a sharp contrast between solids and voids or, in terms of effect, between light and shadow. These effects are obtained by significant cuts in the masonry and long strip windows that illuminate the interior spaces. What is more, the decision to recess the glazing means there is no need for any 'add-on' form of shading; the fašade itself functions as a brise-soleil. Inside, the reading room is designed as an open central space encircled by a succession of three ramps. Their stepped form is rendered lightweight by the use of glass balustrades.