Work on the state-of-the-art Education City Central Library project, with an area of 40,000sqm and nearly a million volumes in its main collection, is to start early next year with its completion expected in late 2011.
“We have conceived a building in which the entire collection would be instantly visible within a single space, providing immediate visual and physical access to the impressive collection,” lead project principal Kunle Adeyemi told Gulf Times.
The central library is coming up at the heart of Education City. Closely located to its site are The School of Foreign Service to the east and the Weill Cornell Medical College to the west. The north face of the building will face the Dukhan highway.
“The design is inspired by a reactionary approach to re-empower books as a primary medium of information and knowledge acquisition in an age where they are arguably threatened by digital technology,” said the designer for the lead consultant, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by award-winning Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.
The form of the building is conceived as two white concrete folded plates that form a “shell”, enclosing a space the size of two football fields in one open volume. The interior holds the bookshelves stacked on terraces like the seating of a football stadium.
“The centre of this space is “The Urban Plaza”, where people converge for different activities of education, culture and entertainment. At the heart of this plaza is an excavation, which like an archaeological site, unearths space for Qatar Foundation’s very rare Islamic Heritage Collection,” Adeyemi stated.
The building also contains a children’s library, a multimedia laboratory, a binding and preservation department, lounges, meeting rooms, technical and administration spaces.
The extensive academic collection consists of monographs, serial publications, e-journals, e-books, databases and indexes and multimedia materials.
OMA, the lead consultant for architecture and interior design, is collaborating with several sub-consultants – notably, Arup Engineering led by Chris Carroll, Renz van Luxembourg of DHV for Acoustics and Petra Blaise of Inside Outside for the landscape design.
In addition to the design, OMA’s scope includes the production of the working drawings and the full tender documentation. “OMA will remain involved in the tender process up to construction completion, in a reduced consultancy capacity,” Adeyemi said.
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