AD Classics: Bibliotheca Alexandrina / Snøhetta

Courtesy of Snøhetta

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina on Egypt’s Mediterranean Coast is a spectacular, state-of-the-art facility with an unresolved architectural identity. Commissioned in 1989 as a contemporary resurrection of the fabled Library at once venerated throughout the ancient world, the present building was intended to serve as a city’s connection to history and heritage. But its stark modernity and technological innovations make it decidedly more forward-looking than historically referential, a cosmopolitan exploration of form and engineering perhaps longing for a stronger sense of regional belonging.

To some critics, the library has political overtones that obfuscate its architectural message, at worst acting as a monument to political posturing whose utility and conceptual integrity is only of secondary concern. And while critical scrutiny of the project necessitates its political and socio-historical contextualization, the building’s architecture—the competition-winning design submitted by Norwegian firm Snøhetta—is worth appreciating and evaluating as an autonomous object and as a precedent for contemporary library design.

Alexandria House 2 / Pivot

© Justin Alexander

Architects: Pivot
Location: Alexandria NSW 2015,
Area: 144.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Justin Alexander

KTA Details Australia’s Largest Urban Renewal Project

©

Koichi Takada Architects (KTA) has released details on ’s biggest urban renewal project: Green Square. Shaped by the pedestrian and traffic flows that surround the building, the mixed-use, multi-residential complex is expected to serve as the gateway of Sydney’s Green Square Town Centre by its completion in 2016.

Komai Residence / Robert M. Gurney Architect

© Maxwell MacKenzie

Architects: Robert M. Gurney Architect
Location: , VA, USA
Project Architect: Brian Tuskey
Photographs: Maxwell MacKenzie