Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Cairo National Library in Egypt by Seeding Office
October 9th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Seeding Office
Traditionally, Egypt was known as the gift of the Nile, ever since Herodotus simply stated that “without the Nile, there is no Egypt, because where the Nile overflows its banks, the land is green, and where the water’s influence stops, the desert begins. Egypt is the Gift of the Nile, the only place in the world where a river dares to cut across a thousand miles of desert to reach the sea, creating a civilization along its course”.
We have chosen Water as a symbolic guide for the whole project, aiming to evoke the deepest roots of Egyptian culture and imagine the building itself as an element generated by the river’s life.
The vital importance of the river Nile has been transferred and translated into all the main design elements, from an integrated attraction of the landscape or part of a pleasant public space close to the entrances, to a constant flowing detail all over and inside the building to support all the technical cooling systems.
Besides the inherent characteristics of a public library in the first building and of the scientific research and management centre in the second building, the project aims to inspire and express a strong relationship with the natural environment through the use of water which is physically taken and given back to the Nile via a process of closed internal loops. Also, this relationship is reflected in the built environment through the general shape that clearly reflects Egyptian heritage with its typical forms, translating them into a contemporary space of national pride and international standing.
The interior of the library is designed to be a unique and meaningful experience for every visitor along with the functional use of collecting and archiving books and the many other resources.
The verticality of the design is a clear reference to The City of a Thousand Minarets, where the two towers with their book shelving systems become a magnet for visitors, while the six bridges are a place to rest and contemplate the Egyptian culture in all its glory.
Moreover all these architectural elements are physically linked by “the digital library”, a spiral path along the perforated shell that starts from the ancient books and maps’ exposition underground and leads up to the top level auditorium.
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