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King Fahad National Library (2002)

Schmidt Hammer Lassen - SHL


Facts:

Architect

schmidt hammer lassen architects

Client

Arriyadh Development Authority

Area

50,000 m² of new build

20,000 m² of refurbishment

Construction sum

€ 100 million excl. VAT

Competition

2002, 2nd prize in invited international competition

Status

Competition proposal

Engineer

Buro Happold Ltd.

Library Consultant

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)

Landscape Architects

schmidt hammer lassen architects

Description:

The present King Fahad National Library is set in the Library Garden in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Since Riyadh is a city with few green spaces, the extension is so designed that its park footprint is minimal.

Hence, the new library is extended as a striking floating structure above the existing library complex. And inspired by the vernacular kasbah principle, it is composed of a swathe of small units which together make up an urban fabric of streets and squares. Viewed from the outside, the building presents a skin perforated by light which offer deep vistas into the quiet courts and reading rooms. The blank façade yields a homogeneous surface – and protects the interior from the glare of the sun.

The new complex ensures the King Fahad National Library a commanding architectural position at the centre of the city, surrounded by the park as a unifying urban space.

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