A redevelopment of the area around Shaikh Hamad mosque is planned, which aims to bring back the new buildings to their original footprint. The project therefore aims to complement the existing revitalization of this neighborhood by offering a public library building which would be open to all members of society, and would complement the existing commercial facilities with a cultural sector outlet.
Located in the historical centre of Muharraq, the Khalifiya library was one of the first public libraries in Bahrain. The area surrounding the library suffered a redevelopment in the 1980s that considerably reshaped the urban silhouette of the area, which lost its original scale.
SeARCH has designed a library that subtly embeds itself in the existing neighborhood, but at the same time has a strong architectural presence that allows it to become a public focal point of the neighborhood. The boundary of the lower floor is shaped by the diagonal line from the adjacent building’s footprint while the cantilevering volume of the two top floors take up again the original footprint of the library. It keeps public space and creates a new way to experience the entrance of the library through a covered space.
One of the main problems is regulating the indoor climate and direct sunlight. By overlaying the shadows created by the typical shapes of the cantilevers, an interesting pattern emerges which is used as a basis for the design. A diagonal grid of louvers is projected on the facade. Rather than being defined by structural logic or repetitive mathematic of traditional Arabic shapes, this pattern is used to regulate incoming sunlight by varying the density of the grid following the shading patterns. This leads to an abstract sculptural facade that changes its appearance under different viewing angles. Sometimes it seems solid and closed, but passing by it opens up to the visitor.