Located near downtown on the edge of Cuauhtémoc, the library towers over the adjacent Buenavista Station, one of the city’s busiest transit hubs where metro trains, the subway and buses intersect. It’s a mammoth three-block-long structure designed by Mexico City architects Alberto Kalach and Juan Palomar. From the outside, the hulking cement, steel and glass structure looks like a relic of mid-century Brutalism. Inside, it looks more like a scene from the information department in “Brazil,” the 1985 dystopian science fiction film by Terry Gilliam.
After much political bickering over the $100 million budget, Biblioteca Vasconcelos opened in 2006 but closed soon after when inspectors discovered dozens of construction defects. It reopened after repairs in 2008 and is now open daily.
Occupying more than 400,000 square feet of indoor space, the nine-story library is illuminated almost entirely by natural light and kept cool and warm year-round by natural ventilation — a triumph of both engineering and conservation. Bookshelves, connected by glass-floored catwalks, appear to dangle from the ceiling. It’s mind-boggling.
Eje 1 Nte. S/N, Buenavista, 06350 Ciudad de México