What does it mean to build a library in Iraq?

AMBS Architects have written an extensive essay on building the new library in Baghdad and the intellectual processes out of which the design emerged.

2 June 2014

Baghdad

"The supposedly simple brief of 'a modern library' for the 'youth' of Baghdad, as presented by the Ministry of Youth and Sport, required an exercise in re-learning and questioning the conventional model of a library.

"Until recent times the role of the library, as a fixed and physical place of learning, to find books has remained relatively constant. The essay lays out some of the challenges and what lessons have been learnt through the process of designing a new cultural institution for Iraq.

"Thoughts and ideas give shape to a set of spaces, and little by little, an ideal model is deduced. We kept talking about this 'object of desire', a building at the forefront of technology that is also deeply embedded in cultural significance. It was important that navigation through the building would be intuitive and user-friendly; visitors can understand the space and visually connect to it in anticipation. The library was imagined as essentially one uninterrupted space that the user can easily understand and where different events and scenarios can happen simultaneously."

'The supposedly simple brief of 'a modern library' for the 'youth' of Baghdad, as presented by the Ministry of Youth and Sport, required an exercise in re-learning and questioning the conventional model of a library.
'Until recent times the role of the library, as a fixed and physical place of learning, to find books has remained relatively constant. The essay lays out some of the challenges and what lessons have been learnt through the process of designing a new cultural institution for Iraq.
'Thoughts and ideas give shape to a set of spaces, and little by little, an ideal model is deduced. We kept talking about this 'object of desire', a building at the forefront of technology that is also deeply embedded in cultural significance. It was important that navigation through the building would be intuitive and user-friendly; visitors can understand the space and visually connect to it in anticipation. The library was imagined as essentially one uninterrupted space that the user can easily understand and where different events and scenarios can happen simultaneously.'

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