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Luis Ángel Arango Library

Bogotá, Colombia
1 of 7Architect website

The project, sponsored by the Colombian Central Bank, houses the largest bibliographic collection in Colombia and is also home to other cultural activities of national significance. The Luis Angel Arango Library occupies a block within a historical and cultural center of Bogota. In recognition of a consolidated traditional building style, the complex consists of enclosed volumes with marble veneer equivalent in height to its neighboring colonial constructions.

The project was developed over three building stages. The first two were designed and built by Esguerra, Saenz and Samper from 1956 to 1959; Alvaro Rivera Realpe designed the third stage of the Library. What stands out in the first stage of building, designed by Rafael Esguerra Garcia, is that of the grand reading room, which is encased by a concrete vault with curved beams that intersect in two directions, forming a diagonal-reticular shape that accommodates a rhythmic pattern of perforations, with skylights that permit the entrance of overhead light. The concrete was left exposed to contrast with the overlays of wood.

From the second stage of building, what stands out is the ovoid chamber music concert hall. Its acoustical and architectonic nature was realized by means of the double curvature of its floor, with comfortable individual chairs that give perfect visibility. The discreet and elegant lighting creates a harmonious space, beautifully suited to its function. The suspended wooden ceiling interrupts the double-height mechanical elements of the space while fully supporting its acoustics.

Its extremely high quality of construction has allowed it to remain a favorite space of musicians and audiences in the capital. It truly is a tremendous and comfortable space to be in, and most of all, it is awe-inspiring in its perfection in acoustics, a delight for all senses.

In April of 2010, the National Council of Cultural Heritage declared the Concert Hall of the Luis Angel Arango Library of the Bank of the Republic an Architectural Heritage site and a Cultural Monument in Colombia.