Eje 1 Nte. S/N, Buenavista, Cuauhtémoc, 06350 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 9157 2800
A bookworm’s dream but an acrophobe’s nightmare, this stunning library is located in the Buenavista part of the city, right next to the old Buenavista train station, where nowadays the Metro, the Metrobus, and the Tren Suburbano converge. The cavernous interior holds an assortment of hanging floors and bookshelves arranged meticulously for visitors to admire, glass is a major theme, and browsing through the library’s collection on all of its 7 floors can give you a sense of the transparent beauty the architects of this building, Alberto Kalach and Juán Palomar, were striving for. This transparency and overuse of glass are precisely what may inconvenience any acrophobes, as standing on glass floors on the 7th floor and being able to observe the floors below, even the ground floor, can make one feel a little woozy.
One of the first things to be seen once entering the building is “Mátrix Móvil”, a huge whale skeleton that hangs over the heads of the incoming visitors. The work is by artist Gabriel Orozco. The colorful spines of the hundreds of thousands of books, which go back into the building as far as the eye can see and are visible even among the tempered glass of the whole structure make up for an amazing view and it’s no wonder you’ll find many tourists and millennials taking selfies and group pictures for their Instagram stories, you’ll probably take one yourself too.
The library has become an important meeting location for residents, who like to socialize inside of the library, attend one of its classes (there are classes for seniors that range from a course in excel to colonial history), or just have a placid conversation on one of its upper floors. This social component has been promoted by the library’s directors since its inception, as an effort to appeal to a broader demographic and make books less intimidating. Naps are permitted by the guards, per the director’s instructions. The library’s collection is made up of 600,000 books and can hold up to 2 million; the books are lent for free to be read inside the premises of the building, or to be taken home as well, there’s also computers on-site for free internet access. Access to the library is also free, in case you want to check out its incredible architecture, whether you’re thinking of borrowing a book or not.
A botanic garden is also available inside the library’s premises, and is an ideal spot to just relax below the cool shade provided by the plants, the exotic plants that were originally considered for the garden aren’t present as the budget hasn’t allowed it, but this outdoor space filled with greenery is still beautiful nonetheless. The Biblioteca Vasconcelos has been somewhat controversial since its construction, some in the media even consider it to be an expensive “white elephant”, nevertheless its beauty is undeniable and visitors will agree it was, in fact, money well spent.