Text description provided by the architects. A coordinating facility, open to the University: The building of the University Library, located at the heart of the Guyanese University Campus has to be a driving force within the University and contribute to its regional radiance. It is a structuring facility for all the buildings that constitute the Guyanese University Campus : its vocation is to gather books and readers in a unique place dedicated to knowledge, an open and generous place within the University. It is about providing a cultural and documentary service of quality and also materialise the image of the regional community, therefore one of the main issues is to give to the building of the University Library a physical, social and symbolic identity that will impact the one of the neighbourhood and of the city.
Our aim is to give to this unique building for its program and its central position, a proper architecture – identifiable by its volumetry and its uses – combined to an opening upon the whole University.
IN Praise OF SHADOWS
A gallery around the building and at the heart of the University: The main architectural choice is the creation of an open peripheral space : unlike a construction cast in one piece with no dialogue with the surrounding, the building is wrapped up with a peripheral space of variable dimensions called “gallery” or peristyle. This gallery is an open space, a place where the students meet and pass through, an extra room between inside and outside, sheltered from sun and rain.
Additional wealth, the peristyle forms a place to exchange, a public space taken over – and even “the space for the public” – which connects the library to the rest of the University : the library is a place for studying that is not cut off from the rest of the world, all it takes to see the life of the University Campus is to look up when sitting at a reading table and have a look at the traffic and motions in the gallery. This one is made of a filter : a slope of wooden lace carefully placed around a concrete core.
The library is considered as an open space, with wide reception spaces, diverse reading and research spaces and the possibility of lending books. It is also a facility that combines traditional documentation and modern technologies. The building is composed of 2 parts : one that receives the public and one reserved for administration and its technical rooms. The spaces dedicated to the public are located on the ground floor and on the mezzanine ; the ones for the administration on the ground floor and the upper level. Patios and rifts mark this dissociation and improve the lighting at the centre of the building.