Alexandria Library
The design concept of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a simple circle representing the Egyptian sun, to symbolically illuminate the world and human civilization. The inclined roof allows indirect daylight and a clear view of the sea. The building is clad in Aswan granite engraved with calligraphic inscriptions representing the world civilizations. This wall symbolizes both the heritage of the region and a revival of cultural radiance to reach out to all corners of the universe. The library is 525 feet (160 meters) in diameter and 750,000 square feet (70,000 square meters) in area.

   The main reading hall is located in half the building in a large open amphitheater, accessible through a central loaning station and smaller satellite information desks. The reading room seats 2000 persons and is flexible in its accommodation of current and future technologies. The room surges upward with a kind of seismic energy while still maintaining an intimacy familiar in Arabic space. The curving wall of the interior creates a secure space for meditation. The surrounding walls move upward and around to further enhance this character.

   The Skylights Pushing up through the interior space are slender columns capped with prism shapes that further distribute light from the overhead skylights. The skylights rise from beneath the earth in a simple repetitive pattern of tetrahedrons. They face north and are designed not to allow direct sunlight into the main space. The light through these pyramids changes throughout the day to provide a connection to the changing environment. The tetrahedrons in the ceiling are up to 16 feet (5 meters) deep, fully enclosed and between 55 and 70 feet (17 and 21 meters) over the floor. They act as a "hot box" so that if the electrical and mechanical systems fail, they will act as passive solar convectors, pulling cool air from levels below ground.

  The Furnishings Snøhetta designed the furniture as a part of the overall design. Because the main reading room is terraced, the tops of the tables, shelves, and chairs are highly visible from many viewpoints. As a result, the furnishings are read as a "horizontal facade" when seen from the entrance balcony and terraces high in the room. The space is further punctuated by the delicately designed chairs that, contrary to the straight lines of the shelves and desk units, express graceful curves and ergonomic considerations, reflecting the early artis...

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  • wessam Hamdi
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  • nbtraveler616
    nbtraveler616 commented
    This is a must see location, leave plenty of time, it can be a whole day thing if you are into history & books!
    about 6 years ago via iPhone
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