A library by Saudi students designed to feel like the centre of the world

A library by Saudi students designed to feel like the centre of the world

A design team which forms part of the architecture department at Effat University in Jeddah has put together plans for a new on-site library which is set to be completed later this year.

The building is in two parts with facilities for its students being accessed from inside the women’s university complex, while a cultural museum open to the public looks outwards.

The building’s design reflects the existing campus blocks and the facade runs alongside the line of the street

It includes a reading hall and a mezzanine level which incorporates four rooms – a design feature only incorporated when a BIM model of the structure showed how much space was available

The women’s university runs courses in architecture and engineering and students also took part in the design process which was overseen by Zaki Mallasi, assistant professor of architecture.

“The future of books, the future of research spaces, or the future of reading spaces are all debatable issues and remained challenging central questions that informed the design of the Effat Library,” he said.

“The design goals focused on providing new social heart within a project that expresses the education transition for women in KSA and creating productive workforce for the outside community, from inside when you enter the main public reception hall, users can see the interior ceiling radial-lines meeting at a large rounded void and when looking up thru the upper floor in the atrium space

“It will provide a feeling that the library is at the centre of the world.”

The designers said that to make the project work undergraduates from across the university put forward ideas so that furniture plans and the categorisation of the library’s stock of books could all be taken into account.

“I encountered a pool of talent while working with students on the design process, especially among my students in the architecture department,” Mallasi said.

“For women, working in engineering in Saudi Arabia is challenging, but the university supports such a workforce. My advice was ‘be confident and give yourself a chance to try something’.”

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