Icon Resurrected: Library of Alexandria Part 2

The Icon

In the previous we took a look a the ancient library of Alexandria, It was a major library and cultural centre of the world, in 1987 a plan was made to build a new library in commemoration of the largest library of the ancient world. More than an architectural project it was an ambitious cultural project as well. This was an effort to build a new library in the city of Alexandria to recover the spirit of the ancient library which was a mythical antiquity and a World Heritage Site. Something very few structures have managed to be known as. The aim of the goal was to match what the ancient structure was supposed to achieve, that this new structure will act as the premier public research library of Egypt and will inspire and support the people of the Arab world to retain their old position as standout academics and researchers in different fields.

The Resurrection

After 1,600 years after the disappearance of the ancient library of knowledge, the new structure was officially opened on October 17, 2002, in the same location as old structure. The budget for construction was $ 230 million, which was financed by countries around the world, the project was spearheaded by UNESCO. The new building houses 20 million books, it now has about 200,000 rare books mostly reached there by donations. Beyond the library, the new structure houses 50,000 maps, 10,000 manuscripts, 10,000 multimedia files and 50,000 audio and visual books.

Structure in Detail

Talking about the concept of the structure, on the outside, the building has a mural of the famous lighthouse of Alexandria as a tribute to the old structure. Its location too is a tribute, the design of the dome is cylindrical, as a tribute to the ancient Egyptian god Ra, the sun god. As far as the materials used in structures as concerned, the outer cover is made of glass with metal structure. The slender fluted concrete columns are made from granite, which supports the roof, which was designed without movement joints in its 16,000 square meters. The large outer curved wall was built with granite from Aswan. Inside, the rooms are of wood. The floors are oak.

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