AIA/ALA Library Awards 2011
Beacon on the Red Sea
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is a new graduate-level research campus located in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea. Designed by HOK, the 6.5 million-square-foot (604,000-square-meter) complex is LEED Platinum-certified (LEED-NC v2.2) and was named one of the Top Ten Green Projects for 2010 by AIA/COTE.
A central element of this science- and technology-focused campus is its library. In addition to housing books and providing digital media services, the 100,000-square-foot (9,300-square-meter) KAUST Library was conceived as an academic commons — a central place for students and researchers from different campus programs and disciplines to come together.
In the main volumes of the library, large open areas of double-height space are anchored around a wood-clad core. Integrated throughout the building are spaces for patron interaction: seminar rooms, group study areas, informal lounge spaces, and a cafe. Most stacks are located on the underground level.
Enclosing the building is a striking double wall of glass and laminated marble. During the day, the marble appears solid. But in the evening and at night, the stone is revealed to be translucent, glowing with the light from inside the library — a transformation the jury described as "magical."
The structural diagrid curtain wall filters daylight and shields against heat gain. At the upper levels, large expanses of glass at the northeast and southwest ends of the building provide expansive views of campus and of the Red Sea, respectively. And where the building connects with an adjacent plaza, glazing maintains a visual connection with interior patron areas. With glass also defining many of the interior rooms, daylight washes the interior.
The five recipients of the 2011 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards_2011 will be honored on June 27, 2011, at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The 2011 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards jury was chaired by Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, Marlon Blackwell Architect, and also included Anders Dahlgren, Library Planning Associates, Inc.; Drew Harrington, Dean of the Library, University of Portland; David Moore, AIA, Craig Gaulden and Davis, Inc.; Joanna Pestka, FAIA, New York Public Library; and Thomas Schneiter.
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