Knowledge Meets Design

Book lovers in Dubai will soon have somewhere to flock to with the construction of a new Dubai Central Library in Al Mamzar. Dubai Municipality is currently finalising designs for the project that should provide a major boost to the literary scene of a city famous for its finance and commerce, but seen by many to be distinctly lacking in more cultural pursuits.

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By  Charlotte Butterfield Published  March 2, 2006

Book lovers in Dubai will soon have somewhere to flock to with the construction of a new Dubai Central Library in Al Mamzar. Dubai Municipality is currently finalising designs for the project that should provide a major boost to the literary scene of a city famous for its finance and commerce, but seen by many to be distinctly lacking in more cultural pursuits. Designs for the building, which are scheduled for completion in July, have been selected through a contest among internationally renowned designers. The winning plan is for a ‘book-shaped’ building, which is also reminiscent of the ‘Rahle Hinge’. The lectern shape is intended to symbolise the intersecting cultures of Dubai and portray the link between traditional Arabic society and the cosmopolitan way of life that exists in the Emirate today. The interior of the library will be made up of floating levels suspended over a central hall linked together with bridges and galleries. The concept behind this free-floating design is to reflect the world of intellect and knowledge.Much of the library activity will take place in the central area of the building where natural light will flood in and light up the entire area. Quieter areas for concentrated reading will be provided, while upper levels will be used as ‘relaxed reading zones’ taking advantage of the picturesque views overlooking Al Mamzar lagoons. The basement of the building will become a dedicated parking area for as many as 1000 cars. Other facilities will include administrative and technical sections, an auditorium, business library, state of the art book management systems, exhibition and conference centres and training halls. A children’s library will be created with direct access to the garden. An additional eye-catching design feature of the new library will become visible at night when the exterior façade of the building is planned to “glow across the water like a precious stone.” “We have chosen this beautiful location given the significance of the library in enlightening the community members. Moreover, a less-congested area means a lot of interest among the public. People can come to the library and enjoy reading in a relaxed environment, while enjoying the scenic location,” explains Essa Al Maidour, from Dubai Municipality. Final designs are expected to be ready by the summer, which will be followed by a tender for contractors to bid for undertaking the project’s construction.

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