- Location Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Value Confidential
- Size 40,000 m²
- Client Riyadh Development
- Year 2004
Our entry for the new national library in Riyadh uses a series of 84 repeating concrete and terracotta parasols.
The building sits between a large, walled garden and a public plaza connected to a major highway. The plaza and the ground floor of the building are on one level, slightly higher than the road, with two layers of car parking under the plaza. The garden, however, is a full storey lower, taking advantage of the natural slope of the site. The building is divided vertically into two main zones: base and superstructure.
Closed book stacks and staff offices are housed in the basement plinth, while the visiting public mainly occupy the flowing spaces under the parasols at ground floor level. The main public areas are divided into four zones: the men's library, the women's library, a shared information and exhibition area and an entrance court called King Fahad Plaza, which is open-sided but shaded by the canopy of parasols.
The towers of the parasols support the ground floor table-top slab, but in certain bays they also support bridge-like structures at both first and second floor level containing open-access bookshelves. Vertical circulation is mainly via spiral staircases contained within the parasols.