The library and media center in Ocotlan was assigned to LeAP after a portfolio competition. This project in particular was an important challenge for us, since it was our first major project and since it was commissioned right at the intersection of the 20th and 21st century. At the moment there was big fuzz about the beginning of the new millennium, the possible failure of the whole computer system around the world and the inevitable dead of the printing media. These concerns were discussed at the design table as we were working in this project. We wanted to design a building that somehow witnessed these changes if ever occurred, and that at the same time could function as the milestone of the new era the printing media would start living. It was impossible for us to design a library and media center at the beginning of the 21st century as these typologies have been designed for the past 20 or 30 years, we felt the urge to make a statement about a time that, perhaps, was about to change. The process in itself involved a series of playful strategies in order to let the authorship of the process aside, we wanted randomness in the process, we desired to lay some rules and let the whole thing play itself. At the end of these processes that involved a high degree of randomness we obtained a very suggesting image that accompanied us through the whole process, it was never used literally but it influenced strongly the final design of the building. The building is designed as three elements that intersect; at the point of intersection are the main lobby, front desk and informal reading areas. One of the elements is a concrete volume that protects the whole collection of the library, from the outside this concrete box is completely closed and without any openings. At the main lobby the concrete dematerializes into a steel structure that shows the stacks of books. The user is confronted to this wall of books as it enters the main space of the library. The other two elements that intersect at the lobby are the reading areas, which are built in red brick and the media center which is clad in metal. The different materials or these elements make it clear to the user that there are different programs inside, and that each element has a distinctive program, the reading areas are in the red brick element, the media center in the metal clad volume and the books in the concrete box.
Looking at the concerns about the start of the new millennium 10 years later we know that nothing really happened. The computer system did not even blink that night of Y2K, and we are still reading newspapers and books as we have been doing for years. The true is that there is a slow change taking place, we are more than ever connected to everyone else, and the library and media center stands today speaking clearly to the users about the programs it contains, is a universally accessible building, responsible in its energy consumption because the big transparent facades that lets natural light in, and it is another node in the network of libraries making the information available to the people.