Joseph G. Jabbra University Library & Riyad Nassar
Byblos, Lebanon

Both buildings are conceived as dynamic elements that evoke the region’s complex, layered history. The design takes advantage of the site’s level differential to create an amphitheatre as a social space between them. Inspired by mashrabiyas, the layered external skin optimises daylighting and provides shade and ventilation. Interior and exterior spaces were developed in concert, bringing the outside in and the inside out. The library serves up to 600 students, with individual, private, and group study areas, computer stations, and classrooms. Its open atrium acts as a passive chimney vent for continuous air circulation. The administration building’s lower floors accommodate exhibition space. Most furniture is custom-designed and locally fabricated. The scheme as a whole, also including a sunken garden and net café, creates a synergy between scholarly activities and social life. The spaces provide a unique opportunity for exchange of ideas, innovation, and respect among diverse people, cultures, and religions.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Byblos, Lebanon
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Completed 2018
8'192 m²
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