• VERTICAL SPACE FROM GROUND - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
  • AERIAL VIEW - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
    AERIAL VIEW   2/12
  • ELEMENTS - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
    ELEMENTS   3/12
  • INTERIOR - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
    INTERIOR   4/12
  • LIGHT - AIR - VIEWS - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
    LIGHT - AIR - VIEWS   5/12
  • TRANSPARANCY - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
  • TWISTED ATRIUM - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
  • PROGRAMMATIC SECTION - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
  • FLOORS - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
    FLOORS   9/12
  • VERTICAL LIBRARY SPACE - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
  • STREET VIEW BEHIND EXISTING BUILDING - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
  • ELEVATION - São Francisco Library - SPOL Architects
    ELEVATION   12/12

São Francisco Library

The São Francisco Library and Law School stands as a solid pillar in Brazilian Democracy and Justice. The library originally housed in the proud main building of the Faculty of Law of the Largo São Francisco has outgrown itself; from one Library to nine departments today exploded into infinitesimal parts.

The current organization of the São Francisco libraries has become the exact oxymoron of what the library should be.  A catalogued, organized, coherent and transparent place of curated information.

The new library shall enhance its position as the reference library in Brasil for legal law justice. The building must provide an attractive framework for immersion into the studies of Law for students, researchers, lawmakers and attorneys from all over Brasil and stand as an emblematic icon for the Library’s importance.

Our proposal for the São Francisco Law Library aims to reinstate it physical presence adequate to its national importance.

Traditionally a guardian of our collective history, the library as an institution has been challenged in recent years; internet has made anything accessible anywhere. In the age of information technology the library has been forced to reimagine its role in society: From vault to exchange. The successful library of the future must embrace rather than reject change and shall hold all forms of communication and information.

The library stands as one of the last free and non-commercialized spaces in our cities. The strength of the library lies in its physical presence; a defined space for academic immersion, social interaction, exchange of ideas, information gathering, and curated and systematized information.

One of the prime roles of the research library is the social exchange between its users, organized and informal. The Architecture shall provide the framework for social and information exchange.  O  Edifício Principal da Faculdade de Direito (the main building of the Faculty of Law) provides ample spaces for relax and social exchange between the existing libraries.

Our design strategy for the building Anexo IV centers on a collective void that connects and separate all parts of the new library. The interstitial space becomes the heart of the new.

In our design of the library we have prioritized everything: Perfect space for research, perfect conditions for a living and growing archive of nine components, perfect working conditions for all employees and a great space for interchange between all the libraries users and employees.

One of the major catalysts in the rebirth of downtown São Paulo are strong public and academic institutions. The institutions stand as reference points for the public in the perception of the city.  The Library has traditionally been a closed fortress as the keeper of the books. We suggest an open an inclusive library, one that extends the urban life into the building. The center of our project is a “public space” and provides imminent presence and connection to the city from spaces in the building.

Our project is a reinterpretation of the architecture of the Centro. The facade is a massive punched whole stone facade, referencing the tradition massive facades of the downtown. The void is recessed simple glass facades.

The design of the library follows one simple move. A double parabolic cut transcends the building from top to bottom, front to back. The void organizes the building, provides visual connection, optimal working conditions orientation, vertical circulation, daylight and natural ventilation throughout the building.

We aim to make a house where nine libraries can exist as one, the void connects and separates all parts of the Library; Social spaces on the ground floor, multimedia and auditorium at grade and below. Administration intersected between the social mixing chamber on the ground floor and the archives above. The administration becomes directly connected to the users and all the archive departments. The void organizes books on one side and reading spaces on the other side.

The void extends the urban space into the library and the library out to the city. The rotation of the building’s light shaft provides imminent presence and connection to the city from spaces in the building.

The void is transcending, yet never overwhelming, always concealed/ dwindling/ disappearing behind its own definition, it is only revealed in parts throughout the exploration of the building.

The void is receding according the building’s existing structure creating a “thousand plateaus” along its edge. The subtraction of the void allows the remaining to be super dense.  The plan is laid out in simple fashion of rows perpendicular to the cut.

The void exposes the archeology of the existing building; the existing beams are maintained in a web crossing the void. The void becomes the heart of the new library!




Fundação Arcadas Entidade de Apoio à faculdade de Direito – USP / University of São Paulo


São Paulo


Existing library building in the center of São Paulo






Adaption of the existing library building to consolidate all the library’s of the law faculty of the university of São Paulo.




SPOL + An-Dré


SPOL Team: Adam Kurdahl, João Vieira Costa, Mariana Alves, Teresa Alves Ferreira, Silvia Acar, Eduardo Yuste, And-Ré Team: Francisco Ré, Filipe Paixão

Partner in Charge

Adam Kurdahl


Y-Con w/ Yopanan Rebelo

Culture, Re-use