chapter  23
4 Pages

Library and Museum Hybridisation: Ultimate Spatial Forms of Institutional Collaboration in the Process of Identity Representation

This dual identity marked what is probably the first case of intentional musealisation of a library space. Begun in 1603 to designs by Lelio Buzzi, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan was commissioned by Cardinal Federico Borromeo as a symbolic bulwark against the advance in southern Europe of the Lutheran Church (De Poli 2002: 24). The cardinal, thinking about public access to the cultural orthodoxy of the time, wanted to establish a library open to everyone and able, as well, to represent the relevance of Counter-Reformation knowledge. Two essential features of this library space are its architectural form and the display method: a single hall bounded by open stacks from floor to roof, accessible via suspended galleries; the books, for the first time the subject of display as well as consultation, defined a place both easily accessible for all users and gifted with an overwhelming authority.