Monthly Archives: February 2015

Guide to fictional Libraries #16 A Madrid Summer Night´s Dream pt 2 Sci- Fi

Madrid, the town I have chosen  to call home for the last ten years, has a multitude of libraries that might well have fallen straight from the pages of a fantasy or science fiction novel. Despite drastic cuts carried out in the name of austerity, most of the libraries included here are open to the general public and I encourage the Madrileños to support their local with a visit.

For Sci-Fi  we should start with my local, Pedro Salinas, in Puerta de Toledo, constructed in 1992 by Juan Navarro Baldeweg, zapped out of Terry Eagleton´s discworld.

pedro-salinas-library5.1navarro-toledoLa biblioteca Ana Maria Matute in Carabanchel, by RSP architects, like some crazy glass headed dinosaur.

ana maria matuteamatutefachadaNoname aaThe Rafael Alberti Library by Andrés Perea Ortega with its magnificent Mies van der Rohe facade:

7a1 d885c2358f7119b7f830ccebb6298d2d1307964258_740215_0000000000_noticia_normalThe Gloria Fuertes public library whose cyclopian facade stares out over a bleak Barajas.

gloria fuerThe Luis Martin Santos Library in Vallecas created by architects Mario San Juan Calle, Ángel Sevillano Martín e Iván Carpintero López enjoys some fantastic reading spaces:

luis martin-santos vallecas07 descarga 02The Jose Hierro library in Usera (Ábalos y Herreros, 2002) functionally designed to act as a “catalyst” in the local community.

useraThe Mara Moliner Library by Miguel Cabanes Ginés, Elena Robles Alonso, Pedro Gambín Hurtado (2013)

Mara MolinerThe ESIC Library of Marketing Finance and Economy

esic marketing finanzas economiaRather more well known is the library of the Reina Sofia modern art gallery by Jean Nouvel.

robinson4-18-12images (4)images (3)bibliotecaLeon Tolstoi in Las Rozas seems to have simply appeared out of nowhere since no reference to its construction can be found.  An invisible architect?

leon tolstoi majadehondaOr how about the polytechnic University library, below?

politecnica-madridAnd near to the Retiro these two gems:

Casa de Fieras:

descarga (1)Biblioteca Retiro in the Calle Doctor Esquerdo:retiroRetiro 300x300These and other gems in the Community of Madrid have suffered cuts to services, budgets, opening times affecting users, collections, reading groups etc

Support your local library to avoid situations like this one (Bilblioteca Publica Joaquin Vilumbrales, Alcorcon) where local protest was necessary to restore their access to something like approaching a good library service.DSC00453

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Guide to fictional Libraries #16 A Madrid Summer Night´s Dream pt 1 Fantasy

Madrid, the town I have chosen  to call home for the last ten years, has a multitude of libraries that might well have fallen straight from the pages of a fantasy or science fiction novel. Despite drastic cuts carried out in the name of austerity, most of the libraries included here are open to the general public (especially those in the Sci-fi group from the next post) and I encourage the Madrileños to support their local with a visit.

For fantasy we could start with the Athenæum on the Prado.  Founded in 1835 (for members only) it is currently threatened with bankruptcy (2013) due to the reduction in grants from Madrid city council.

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A short distance away on my street, is the no less impressive Library of the UNED (Open University), Escuelas Pias de San Fernando built out of the ruins of a religious school destroyed at the beginning of the Civil War.  As an anecdote the original school (which was free and took up to 200 kids) included the first deaf school in Spain founded in 1795.

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The Madrid regional library Joaquín Leguina was built out of the old Aguilá Brewery.  The architects  Emilio Tuñón Álvarez y Luis Moreno Mansilla converted the original 1912 -1935 structures by Eugenio Jiménez Correa and Luis Sainz de los Terreros .

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Finally in this section, the National Library, founded in 1712 and described by expert Jesús Cuadrado as “the biggest colander” in the world, able to make an endless quantity of items of popular culture disappear, be they comics, stamps, maps, manuscripts, posters, books and even a codex of Leornardo de Vinci ( – the Alibi Library would be proud!)

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Next up the sci-fi libraries of Madrid…