Madrid Book Fair Pavilion
Paul Auster’s novel “Oracle Night” is constructed according to the “story in the story” principle: The writer protagonist, Sydney Orr, enters a stationer’s shop called “The Paper Palace” to buy notebooks to be used for the writing of his novel, all of which is embodied within the main argument: a novel within another novel.
Stimulated by this structure, the Pavilion to be built in the “Parque del Retiro” in Madrid was conceived in an analogue form. From the outside, the one-storied, rectangular volume with a saddle roof epitomises the pristine form of the house. Internally, the temporary exhibition and lecture building develops a complex geometry. Several deformed “light canons” with deep reveals bring daylight into the three spatial zones specifically. In the façade and roof, these elements are best visible as two-dimensional windows. The framework of the structure is in wood, with a sloping roof of conventional design lacquered an intensive black. Once inside one is offered a stark contrast to the exterior by means of a more complex geometry painted a luminous white. Over the same exterior mouldings are developed various interior sections which respond, on the one hand, to the programme and, on the other, are carefully gauged to blend in with the Parque del Retiro surroundings; this through its distinctive access, windows and skylights.
The programme offers three marked spaces, each independent, yet rather like boxes which can be seen as both separate and as a part of a whole. The changing image of the interior is particularly enjoyable to contemplate when the sun enters by way of the windows and skylights. The solution of the slatted screen of the letters, forming meaningful words at the windows, was of particular interest as we were permitted to cover the available spacing by using lines from various verses taken from poets of Madrid. A “very literary” solution of the observations from various sources therefore represented themselves in a building for the Book Fair, where it is the sun’s own light that projects onto the inner walls the words carved into the lattice shutters.
Client: Madrid City Council
Site: Parque del Retiro. Paseo de Carruajes. Madrid
Project Status: Built 2007. National Competition. 1 Prize