FAD 2023



FAD Architecture Prize 2023

The new García Márquez Library in Barcelona is the most praised in the world. It has won the FAD 2023 Prize and three other awards.

The architects responsible for the building are Elena Orte and Guillermo Sevillano from the SUMA Arquitectura studio.

The FAD Architecture Awards are the longest-running and most recognised awards in Spain and Portugal in these disciplines, reaching their 65th edition.

fad biblioteca gabriel garcia marquez

Inaugurated on May 28, 2022, with its name in honor of the writer Gabriel García Márquez, it is the central library of the Sant Martí district. It is a magnificent six-story building with an exposed wooden structure of almost 4,000 m2. The cultural center, which has large open-plan structures, attracts more than a thousand visitors daily.

Its greatest innovation is the large open spaces and large windows that allow natural light to pass through its six floors. The building integrates the green of the trees on the adjacent streets.

Material, furniture, wood and lighting come together to offer the impression of a warm and welcoming space. The new facility houses 40,000 books that make up its collection.

fad biblioteca gabriel garcia marquez

The shape of the exterior structure is conceived by the architects in a very original way. Alluding to the soul of a library, they represent multiple overlapping planes, which are seen from the outside as a set of stacked books.

As always, the annual FAD recognises the best projects in the categories of Architecture, Interior Design, City and Landscape and Ephemeral Interventions. This new recognition for the library in the Sant Martí district (Barcelona) is shared with the Reggio School in Madrid.

fad biblioteca gabriel garcia marquez

A writer, a sculptor and a comic book author

The best public library in the world is in Barcelona and is called Gabriel García Márquez, in honor of the renowned Colombian writer, a key figure of Magical Realism.

The name is a great success as it recalls the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature (1982) who lived eight years in Barcelona. A sculpture of the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, presides over a space in this center dedicated to culture.

One of the first activities was precisely the first edition of the Barcelona Latin American Literature Festival (June 2022) where twenty-two writers participated.

The project has cost 11.3 million euros and it is the only library that serves as home of a radio studio. Other spaces, for a good restful read, have hammocks and ergonomic armchairs. Literature lovers seem to be contemplated by a large bust of Garcia Marquez, created by Colombian sculptor Oscar Noriega.

fad biblioteca gabriel garcia marquez

In the comic area, on the first floor, tribute is paid to the writer and cartoonist Francisco Ibáñez, who was a neighborhood resident. Readers can access 500 comic titles by the renowned author of Mortadelo y Filemón, Rompetechos and Botones Sacarino.

A large entrance hall seems to extend the square with the door open to a central patio. The impressive main staircase connects different spaces.

Around it there are activities at different levels, occupying interior and exterior spaces and creating windows open to different urban centers. The spatial quality, obtained by articulating a constellation of rooms, events and various activities, allows us to understand this public building as a social condenser. The philosophy is to use different reading and programming strategies to activate the neighborhood.

The complex construction solution of the library involves the use of large wooden elements that manage to unite the urban and human scale.

fad biblioteca gabriel garcia marquez 07

A library with four awards

No other public building has received so many prizes.

  • Best Public Library Award 2023, presented by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).
  • City of Barcelona Architecture Prize 2022.
  • First Prize of the 51st edition of the COAM Award of the College of Architects of Madrid 2022.
  • The recent FAD 2023 is added to these three. The announcement of the Best Public Library Prize was given during the World Library Congress in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

Other new libraries received similar awards in 2023. They are located in the cities of Krsko (Slovenia), Parramatta (Australia) and Shanghai (China).

We are very happy because, in addition to the building, it means a recognition of our work and a project that is very dear.

Pilar Banasco

It is a local facility for the residents of a district that stands out for the great vitality and activity of its civil society, made up of social, cultural and educational associations.

The appeal of this original library has transcended to the international level with four awards of the highest level. It is even being called “the Guggenheim of La Verneda”, in reference to a nearby neighborhood.

As in Bilbao, this type of emblematic buildings are capable of transforming not only the pleasure of visiting a good library, but they are also able to change profoundly the physiognomy and character of an entire neighborhood.

fad biblioteca gabriel garcia marquez

History of the FAD awards, deans of European architecture and interior design

In the harsh Spanish post-war period, materials were scarce, so were projects, and tastes of Herreriano style prevailed. Many rationalist architects went into exile abroad. There were only architecture schools in Madrid and Barcelona, with only about fifteen architects graduating each year.

Around 1955, a group of young Spanish architects began to reintroduce contemporary architecture. Their objective was to take up the baton of the former Annual Awards for Artistic Buildings of Barcelona City Council, which had awarded city buildings between 1899 and 1930.

The Promotion of Decorative Arts created, in 1958, the FAD Awards for Architecture and Interior Design, promoted by the architect Oriol Bohigas.

They intended to recognise the fruits of this incipient contemporary architecture, which would be so important in the world a few decades later.

Since then, the FAD Awards have been rewarding year after year the best works of Spanish architecture. And they have done it with independence and perseverance and overcoming all kinds of difficulties, until they have become one of the oldest prizes in Europe and one of the most prestigious.

You may also like

Revista pensada para un público inquieto y contemporáneo, sensible a la creatividad.

Oficina Principal MARBELLA

N-340, km. 176
C.C. Oasis, Local 1
29602 Marbella [Spain]

Oficina MADRID

Serrano, 98
28006 MadrId [Spain]

Oficina PARIS

91, Quai D'Orsay
75007 Paris [France]