Former hospital transformed into modern public library

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The municipality of Baiona (Pontevedra, Spain) has unveiled its new municipal library and the relocation of its historical archive. The recently re-opened sixteenth-century Sancti Spiritus Hospital was chosen to house one of the most important historical records of the region. The renovation, in which Garnica plywood panels were used, was completed in December 2017, under the management of architectural studio Murado and Elvira.

The great historical value of the building meant that an extremely careful renovation was required and Murado and Elvira worked to ensure harmony between traditional and contemporary architecture. Both the furniture and the layout of the library and archive spaces are clear and simple, with the aim of returning the exceptional outdoor patio and garden spaces to their former prominence after having been relegated to secondary roles in the course of alterations over time.

The library has several floors and rooms for specific uses. Its multi-function room and children's library opening directly onto the patio are of particular note, allowing the garden to function as a reading room in summer and as a venue for cultural events.

The library will also feature an information and lending desk, a study room, a computer room and further multi-function spaces that will be home to the records that have existed for centuries and will house the bibliographical heritage section, created in 2012 and comprising many important collections.

Garnica plywood panels from the Fireshield product family, characterised by their exceptional resistance to fire have been used for all the wood in the renovation of this public building. These panels are a Garnica innovation, to meet the demand for fireproofed wood in public building construction projects. Through an innovative treatment applied to 100% of the panel, the plywood acquires an exceptional resistance to fire, even after sanding or machining. In addition to having the B-s1-d0 certification required by the Technical Building Code and CE2+ structural certification, it boasts exceptional lightness, ease of machining and dimensional stability.

Several public figures were present at the inauguration, held in July 2018. Ángel Rodal, mayor of Baiona said that the library is "a great achievement for all Baiona that corrects the main defects of the old library and creates a cutting-edge and comfortable building too". The president of the Xunta de Galicia (regional government), Alberto Núñez Feijóo, added that the project "will bring knowledge closer to all who live in Baiona". Ana Pastor, speaker of the Congress of Deputies, Spain's lower chamber of parliament, commented that "the library will improve one of the main sights of Baiona and its cultural life".

Murado and Elvira obtained the contract for the rehabilitation project by winning a public tender launched by Baiona municipal council and financed by the Ministry of Development with an investment of 1.1 million euros. The 27,505 books in the library have been added to the Baiona Public Library Network, and to the public collection of all libraries in Galicia.

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