In plan, the building takes the shape of a drop-like peninsula, which projects out onto a lake. The Library will be at the heart of the Youth City; a masterplan of 1,200,000 sqm, with over 30 new buildings, including residential, cultural, official and sports venues.
The library’s double curvature roof structure is formed by a two-way steel cable net with a span of 80m across, making it the biggest single span reading room in the world. The roof is comprised of modular panels which support both a photovoltaic system and arrangement of skylights. The skylights follow the curve of the roof and were designed specifically to allow constant levels of illumination into the reading areas.
The heart of the building is surrounded by floor plates, which form a cascading terrace and create a directional valley that contains the various reading areas and event spaces. The building features a continuous slot around the perimeter, which lets indirect light filter through to internal spaces on the lower ground floor. The floors and walls are designed to create flexible, functional spaces for different cultural, social and educational purposes.
AMBS Architects went beyond the brief to create a visibly sustainable building; a structure that will educate visitors about architecture and technology. This is communicated through the integration of solar panels into the roof, and subtly through the building’s mass, form and orientation, making it an example of both renewable energy and passive design. This represents our wider commitment to minimising environmental impact, optimising energy efficiency, and working towards a future where Iraq’s economy is not solely dependent on oil.
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