The City of the Books is a building from the end of the XVIII century and it was conceived as the Royal Tobacco Factory form Spain. It was built at the border of the colonial city of Mexico and it has had different functions over the time: military headquarter, prison, weapons factory, school, and, from 1946 to the present, as a Library; in fact, it was the first Library, as that, in Mexico. In 1987, the building had a big intervention, designed by Abraham Zabludovsky, in which the four main patios and the central one were covered with structures as umbrellas covering them.
The actual intervention in the historic building aims in: a)reorganizing the program of the different activities for a more logical and efficient operation; b)recovering the character of the building by taking back the functioning of the original patios and restoring the pathways, crossing from north to south and in the perimeter, of the building; c) improving the conditions of natural light and ventilation to get a better and rational use of the energy and resources available; d) attending the requirements of accessibility by using tactile guides and signals and ramps in a topography that eliminates any kind of step in the common areas; and e) updating the installations and equipments of the library according to the needs and uses of interconnectivity of the modern life.
In this way, the historic building is recovered at the same time it acquires a new vitality for its contemporary use with an architectonical vocabulary that is respectful of the original construction.