Gabriel García Márquez Library in Barcelona wins prestigious architecture award

Innovative building earns Emerging Architecture Prize from Mies van der Rohe Foundation and European Commission

The entrance to Barcelona's Gabriel García Márquez public library
The entrance to Barcelona's Gabriel García Márquez public library / Maria Pratdesaba
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

April 25, 2024 08:15 PM

April 25, 2024 08:29 PM

The Gabriel García Márquez library in Barcelona has been awarded the Emerging Architecture Prize awarded by the Mies van der Rohe Foundation and the European Commission.

The innovative building, developed by Madrid studio SUMA Arquitectura, has prevailed over the square and tourism office of Piódão, Portugal, the other finalist in the competition.

The jury highlighted that the Barcelona library "acts on a city-wide scale, contributing to the transformation of the neighborhood, opening up as a new outdoor and indoor public space."

They also emphasized that the building "develops as a rich sequence of monumental and domestic spaces" that "provide comfortable environments for learning" and highlighted its "meticulous attention to detail."

World's best

Last August, the Gabriel García Márquez Library was named the world's best public library built in 2022 by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) on Monday. 

Named after the Colombian magical realism genius who lived in the Catalan capital for seven years, the library beat three other contenders: the Janez Vajkard Valvasor Krškov Public Library (Slovenia), the City of Parramatta Library (Australia), and the Shanghai Library East (China).

The IFLA describes the library as "an architectural and functional marvel resembling a stack of open books and serving as a central community hub for 240,000 residents."

Six-story green building

Located in Barcelona's working-class Sant Martí district, the six-story library specializes in Latin American literature and is the city's third-biggest

The library's 4,000 m² are spread over six floors with an exposed wooden structure. The building's sustainable strategies have seen it granted it the Gold LEED award for green buildings.

Between June 2022 and May 2023, it was visited by 277,578 people, with an average of 947 visits per day. It has hosted 75 activities with a total attendance of almost four thousand people and has loaned 128,695 books and other documents.

Filling the Sink podcast on libraries

Check out our Filling the Sink podcast published in April this year on beautiful libraries in Catalonia and the hidden gems in the collections within.