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Designing The Library Of The Future

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Dar Al-Uloum initiative launches an international competition to repurpose library space as a cultural destination. 


On the occasion of the Dar Al Uloum’s public library’s golden jubilee, the Abdulrahman Al Sudairy Cultural Center (AACC), with input from academic partners – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), AlFaisal University, Dar Al Hekma University, and Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University, started the The Dar Al Uloum Initiative (DAUI). This initiative was taken to transform the library from a traditional one to the digital one that is open and acts as a multifunctional social hub for cultural flow and activity.

The redevelopment of the library unfolds in three phases: the preliminary research phase – conducted by DAUI’s academic partners – focusing on design functionality and cultural cohesiveness; benchmarks’ phase, acquired from industry experts and elaborated in a 3-day conference during which the architecture competition will be launched; lastly, the project bidding and award phase for the library redesign.

The architectural brief for the redesign competition is compiled by partnering faculty and students. The themes of ‘connectivity’ and ‘efficiency’ will be integral in evaluating design proposals, with energy conservation and cultural sensitivity playing large roles in winning designs.

The competition launched earlier this February and marked the first day of the conference, Architecture for the Future: Education, Research, and Practice, at Al Faisal University. The conference program was developed with program partner Banafsajeel – a platform for creative collaboration. It launched the architecture exhibition by RIBA Gulf that consisted of multiple panel discussions from leading architecture experts from the region, a workshop led by Minhaaj + Bakerloos, a film screening, and a visit to the district of Diriya arranged by Phonart.

The attendees were exposed to a variety of theories and practices like new trends in sustainable design and the future prospects of architectural design. The conference acted as a platform to promote the library competition and generate interest from participants to submit proposals.

The redesign competition aims to pay homage to the original library design, preserving old elements, while seamlessly incorporating new functions and uses to modernize the space, making it a lively community center. Winning designs will be awarded valuable cash prizes, with first place securing USD $50,000, in addition to the contract for the Al Jouf Library redevelopment.

As Saudi Arabia continues to advance and develop its architectural landscape, initiatives such as the DAUI will serve to place KSA on the map for collaborative, forward-thinking, and sustainable structures of the future.

For more information on the initiative, conference, competition and contributing partners, please visit www.daui.org

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