Project DescriptionFROM THE AGA KHAN AWARD FOR ARCHITECTURE:
An original 14th century Marinid archaeological area is at the core of the reading spaces of the Library. The excavations were included in the interior space of the public building, and the architects worked with the supervising archaeologist to creating a sense of openness and transparency between the Library and the Marinid centre. The project programme is organised vertically on seven levels, three of them overlooking the archaeological remains. The building consists of many different components and the architects wanted to give it a sense of uniformity, to cover it all with one unifying surface. So they developed the idea of a “veil” (a perforated screen) in order to link it all together. The double-skinned facade cut with windows is built with lightweight perforated metal panels in order to filter the strong light and to protect the interior from the strong Straits winds. It also proved to be a good way to hide maintenance galleries. They wanted to identify good views of the sea and the city and to make sure that these became an important component of the design. Cutting through the veil to highlight these was all the more important given that the steep topography of the site meant that the building would be very visible and effectively had no “back”. The Library caters to a wide range of people in this autonomous Spanish city close to Morocco and incorporates a range of cultural events into its programming.