A beautiful old chapel in the Italian town of Lonate Ceppino has been transformed into a modern library with a perforated aluminum tower that adds to the building without compromising its historic character. Italian architects DAP studio restored the traditional architectural features of the Oratory of San Michele before converting it for a new use with the sleek white extension.
The new two-story volume stands off to one side of the original structure, connected via stairways. The top part tapers inward to allow for the preservation of the chapel’s overhang. The new volume contains bathrooms, archives and technical systems, while the bright open spaces of the church hold the books.
Where one building is solid and opaque, the other is translucent, shimmering in the sunlight. The small volume connecting the chapel and the extension features a glazed roof to let in more sunlight without substantially altering the architecture of the historic structure.
This library is hardly alone in making creative use of old churches, monasteries and temples. Check out the incredibly grand ‘Waanders In de Broeren’ 15th-century Dominican church-turned-library, and many other religious-to-secular conversions.