Library of South America and the Arab World

Partner in Charge: Michel Georr, Ibrahim Berberi
Team: Richard Kassab, Naja Chidiac
Project Description:
This competition entry is a cross-cultural library in Algeria, connecting the Arab world and South America. 

Throughout civilization, societies have used vertical structures as symbols of power, culture, and religion. Adopting the concept of a monumental tower, this contemporary landmark’s imposing shape alludes to another iconic design: the nuclear reactor. Just as the nuclear reactor represents energy production and unity across borders, the library depicts a global reactor of knowledge. 

Visitors enter through low-level doors at the base, which lead to a tubular elevator. The elevator follows a sequence of spaces with evolving functions and increasing light; a dark area of book storage precedes a reading area, while a void at the center connects the spaces. Light gradually diffuses at higher levels though a double skin of glass, emerging completely in an open terrace at the top of the building. Geometrically sculpted stone juxtaposes Arabic and South American motifs, while the surrounding landscape design takes inspiration from Peru’s Nazca Lines.
Renders: 109 Architectes
Location:  Zeralda, Algeria
Client:  Ministry of Culture, Algeria
Project area:  65,000 m2
Year:  2007
Project status: Competition;