The practice was chosen from a total of 262 entries from 46 different countries. The competition was won by Museotec, a practice based in Mexico City.
The brief was to create a new 400 000 sq ft public library which would provide storage for around 2 million books and periodicals. The architect had responded to a brief explaining that the building should represent the city and state of Jalisco, on the country's west coast, and serve as an icon for the new cultural centre, currently under construction.
The external form of the building differentiates between its public parts and an administration block forming the west end of the scheme. The two parts of the project are separated by a dramatic external staircase, which pays reference to Aztec and Mayan architecture as well as being 'a metaphor for the journey towards learning and enlightenment,' according to a practice spokesperson.
The main south elevation facing the square has two long horizontal openings on each floor. The lower opening creates views for readers studying and provides the symbolic connection with the square and the city. The upper clerestory window allows light to fall into the plan to create an intimate and contemplative atmosphere.