Gerber Architekten recently completed one of Riyadh’s most important urban development and cultural projects: the expansion and renovation of the King Fahad National Library. The redesigned library builds around an existing building core and adds additional space for archives and courtyard gardens. Positioned as a major focal point and landmark in the city, the elegant library is covered by a striking geometric façade that doubles as a sunshade.
Originally constructed in the 1980s, the old library building consists of a cruciform frame built from reinforced concrete. To expand the library, Gerber Architekten created a cuboid structure to surround and preserve the existing building. Redefined as the centerpiece of the campus, the old building now serves as the internal stacks. The dome and roof of the old building have also been replaced by a series of steel and glass skylights that flood the reading rooms with light.
A curved, white textile facade wraps around the King Fahad National Library extension, providing visual interest and protection against the sun, while maintaining maximum light penetration. Each Teflon-coated fiberglass membrane cloth is attached to a grid of pre-stressed stainless steel cables and arranged in a traditional Arabian pattern. At night, the building comes alive as “the city’s cultural lighthouse” as a changing colored light show illuminates the white fabric façade.
Images via Gerber Architekten