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RIOTECA: A Biomorphic Public Library - B.Arch Final Thesis
Author: Larissa Falavigna / Advisor: Ana Rolim)
Catholic University of Pernambuco (UNICAP), Brazil

Presented in the Archdesign '19 / VI, Athens - International Architectural Design Conference.

The Library as a Third Place

Libraries, as vital cultural and educational hubs, foster community interaction and knowledge sharing. In the city of Recife, Brazil, the proposed library aims to fill the gap in the underserved community of Vila Santa Luzia. Drawing inspiration from biorealism and biophilia, the library is designed to seamlessly blend with its natural surroundings, leveraging its adjacency to the Capibaribe River.


Site Considerations


The Santa Luzia community, with its 7,000 residents, boasts a waterfront lined with mangrove vegetation. The project site, adjacent to a public school, presents an opportunity to serve the community better while revitalizing unused land.


Biomorphic Design Strategies


Inspired by the organic structure of mangrove roots, the library's design incorporates circular "branched blocks" to optimize air circulation and lighting. The roof's profile mimics the natural contours of the land, creating a dynamic architectural expression.


Program and Layout


The library's layout is organized to encourage interaction and engagement. Public spaces like the auditorium and café are centrally located, while kid’s areas and community spaces are closer to the school. Liang's spatial concepts, such as juxtaposition and terrace, inform the design to facilitate communication and connection.


Structural Innovation


A ribbed waffle-type roof structure made from cross-laminated timber provides structural support while integrating greenery for shading. Slim concrete columns and secondary steel structures support the circular volumes, ensuring both functionality and sustainability.

This projected was presented in the Archdesign '19 / VI, Athens - International Architectural Design Conference, and has been published in the conference proceedings.

View from foot bridge over the Capibaribe River facing the building

Aerial view highlighting a floating soft-mesh roof structure with circular cells below

Ground floor plan

Model: The proposed volume establishes a positive dialogue with fragmented building massing in the site

Wireframe and stereotomic models of site analysis and proposed volume

Branched block strategy applied in the design

The form-generating process of valleys and mountain applied in the design of the main roof

Longitudinal section

The articulation of the program in relation to library subjects and uses of the spaces

1st Floor Plan

Building elevation facing the river


View of entrance

Ground floor public spaces

Performance diagrams

Perspective section of kids' area

Concepts of space prototypes that encouraged communication: juxtaposition, terrace and threshold

Aerial view of building with public spaces, including fishing piers to help sustain the local community

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