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The coexistence of the Municipal Library and the Toy Museum (ML/TM) in a single public building is taken as an opportunity to establish a meaningful encounter between access to knowledge and the evocation of childhood, as well as to resolve an urban discontinuity that hurts the historic center of the city of Torres Vedras for a long time.


The site is the empty and irregular area that resulted from the demolition of an old factory in a city block strongly characterized by some of the city's most important urban elements, namely Rua Serpa Pinto — one of the liveliest streets in the city —, Rua da Judiaria — a privileged access to the castle hill — and the Church of Santiago, which organizes two squares.

The project redesigns the shape of the old block, giving back its lost unit. On the one hand, it establishes a new continuity for the existing streets. On the other hand, it offers a third square to the urban system of the two existing squares.

The main atrium of the ML/TM is a new covered street that connects Rua Serpa Pinto and the new Square, which in turn opens onto Rua da Judiaria, thus literally crossing the center of the daily lives of its citizens.


On the ground floor, and connected to this atrium street, all the spaces for common use of the Library and the Museum are located, namely, Services, Exhibitions, Shop, Cafeteria and the Auditorium.


The main room of the Library is an extensive nave, with high ceilings, which runs along the new square, being interiorly flanked by open galleries, which serve as circulation and displaying of books, while rationalizing technical infrastructure.

The natural lighting of this room is provided by a system of skylights oriented to the North. However, the visual relationship between the library and the city's daily spectacle is present throughout the space, framed by a long and low window at the height of the seated readers, which, at a certain point, becomes a balcony.


The main nucleus of the Toy Museum is a double height cubic space, which contains a black box, revealing itself to Rua Serpa Pinto through the reconstructed façade of the old factory.

The Museum's natural lighting system is a variant of the system adopted for the main nave of the Library, composed of skylights, thus underlining the unitary sense of the set and the happy marriage between a Public Library and a Toy Museum.

Design Team:

Architecture: José Neves

Collaborators: José Tavares, André Matos, Fernando Freire; André Martins, Miguel Setas (modelling)

Awards and Nominations:

3rd Prize in the Public Competition for Public Library and Toy Museum, Torres Vedras, 2016

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