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King Fahad National Library, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

In November 2013 after a decade of reconstruction King Fahad Library reopened its doors for reading lovers.

This new, completely modern building is an example of convergence of traditional Middle Eastern architecture and the newest Western technologies. This new building was constructed according to the design of the Gerber Architekten Company, led by Eckhard Gerber. Reconstructors decided to preserve the old building, by creating a new building around it. The new building is more appropriate for the modern and luxurious architectural atmosphere of Riyadh.

The new building is square-shaped. The length of each of the sides of the square is 120 meters. External walls of the building are completely covered with rhomboid textile pattern. Architects of Gerber Architekten tried to create a pattern similar to the shape of the Arabic tents. Despite their efforts, for the visitors this textile pattern on the library’s facade is more associated with the modern architectural technologies, than with the tents of Bedouins. The building's interior is also super-modern: the reading rooms with high ceilings are richly equipped with modern technology.

The old library building is located in the heart of the new square building, as if the new one is protecting the former. The old building has a cruciform shape and is used as a library stock. Architects decided to reconstruct round, concrete dome of the old building from steel and glass, because it was considered as the symbol of the library. The building has a special space, separated from the other parts of the library and with a separate entrance. This part of the building is designed exclusively for women, where they can read without being forced to wear yashmaks.

New library building, in addition to the reading rooms and administrative sections, also includes a restaurant, exhibition halls, bookstore, etc. The total area of the library, including the old building and the new additions, is 86632 square meters.

The reconstructors used the latest technological achievements to make the building environmentally friendly and energy efficient. The square building is surrounded by a square park with palms. During the night-time, the building and surrounding park are brightly illuminated, hence standing out from surrounding urban picture.

By Anna Pambukhchyan, www.building.am



 


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