Le Murate

2019
in collaboration with:
Elyse Killkelley & Cathy Wu

The library typology is rapidly mutating in reaction to the instant and ubiquitous availability of digital media. At the same time, developing concerns over the lack of rigorous verification protocols for information published on the internet has placed even more importance on the role of the library as not only a neutral depository of information, but an institution which validates knowledge before disseminating it. As the University of Florence plans to relocate its dedicated architecture library, the Le Murate complex, occupying the eastern edge of the historic center of Florence presents itself as the site for this proposal. Literally meaning "the walled", Le Murate began as a convent of "walled" nuns. In the 19th century the convent was disbanded, and the buildings turned into a prison with a notable panoptic condition. In the 1980s the prison was abandoned until the adjacent convent was redeveloped into a mixed-used congregate of multiple programs including an art gallery, cafe and low-income housing. Our proposal seeks to adaptively reuse the abandoned prison buildings, by extending and weaving "ribbons" into the urban fabric. The design centers around three rituals adapted from the precedent exercise of "sorting" books, people and knowledge.

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