The new library is “an inner sanctum in the knowledge tribe’s temple where people could refresh their soul, refine their spirit, and let their minds be filled with wisdom.” – Minister of Culture, Lebanon
was invited to model and design the interior spaces of a new library building for the Lebanese American University’s (LAU) Beirut campus, named for a former LAU president, Dr. Ryad Nassar. Our challenge was to create the new library within the framework of a previously approved proposal by a local practice.
To begin the process, the studio researched the local culture and environment and interpreted its findings into contemporary library language suited to the site. The design team opened up the interior spaces with double height rooms and specified clear low-e glass along the northern exposure, resulting in a welcoming, transparent street facade at the edge of the campus. Glass partitions were used to separate study rooms from the main reading areas and to allow natural light deep into the building. Electronic translucent shades and energy efficient lighting fixtures connected to the building system were used throughout the space. Local artisans and local materials were employed for the interior finishes and custom furniture.
The new Nassar Library contains classrooms, computer areas, and a large open collection, as well as compact storage to house the many volumes LAU has collected since its founding in 1847. Lounge areas, study rooms, and study areas for reading and discussing complete the space.