Gabriel García Márquez Library, designed by SUMA arquitectura in Sant Martí district of Barcelona, stands out for its exceptional features and the contribution it has made to the local community.

A public library, as a public space par excellence, becomes in the 21st century everyone’s home, so any user will find his or her special corner. In Barcelona, you can find one that stands out for its exceptional features and the contribution it has made to the local community.

Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez

On 21 August 2023 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez in Barcelona, Spain, was awarded as Public Library of the Year 2023 at the 88th IFLA World Library and Information Conference.

The Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez, designed by SUMA arquitectura in Sant Martí district of Barcelona, is an architectural and functional marvel, resembling a stack of open books and serving as a central community hub for 240,000 residents.

In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and IFLA’s Global Vision, the Biblioteca Gabriel García Márquez embodies a holistic approach to sustainability, community engagement, and knowledge empowerment. Through its design, programming, and commitment to environmental and social responsibility, it serves as a beacon of inspiration for libraries around the world.

Named after the renowned Nobel Prize laureate in literature, Gabriel García Márquez, the library embodies the spirit of interaction with its surroundings and local culture. “This recognition is not only for Biblioteca Gabriel Garcia Marquez It’s for the entire team of Barcelona libraries, the library team, the architects, and the municipality of Barcelona. It’s a gift for the citizens. The democratic and social rights and values are key to our library. This recognition is an award for the Barcelona people.” says the Managing Director of Barcelona Libraries City Network, Ferran Burguillos, and Library Director, Neus Castellano.

Architects Elena Orte and Guillermo Sevillano, SUMA arquitectura’s founders, stated that “it is a unique district library, presented as a sculptural volume inspired by stacked blocks of books and set on a square slightly elevated above the street, whose large openings and voids dialogue with the surroundings.

Its solid sculptural shape is accentuated by a dense structure of wooden panels that provide unique lighting while defining the library’s character. The floor plan is intelligently designed, creating distinct spaces that cater to different needs and activities. From the showcase agora and ideas forum on the ground floor to the reading house on the upper floor, every area is carefully shaped to provide a warm and welcoming environment for visitors.

The main focus of the library is on learning and social connection. To this end, it offers workshops on creativity, languages, and digital literacy. With its unique facilities that include an auditorium, radio studio, cooking workshop, and sensory space for children and young people, the library caters to a wide range of interests and experiences.


The access arcade extends the pedestrian and cultural axis of the neighborhood and connects with the interior. The facility has 4,294 m2 distributed over 5 floors, with a central courtyard that connects all of them and brings natural light into the heart of the building. The structure is a hybrid of laminated and cross-laminated timber and steel, maximizing structural efficiency and architectural performance. Its configuration is based on three cores connected by lattice girders, with an unusual volume of exposed timber and concealed joints. The structure defines and qualifies the space without apparent tectonic stresses and integrates with the program, envelope, and furnishings of each library ecosystem. The result is a great work of joinery, as warm and light as it is permeable and luminous. A dense wood structure enhances haptic qualities (warmth, texture, smell, and hydrothermal performance) and provides warm and intimate zones, while the structural layout offers a great variety of spaces.

Photo credits Jesús Granada