Steven Holl Architects have revealed plans for a new library and campus design in Malawi, coinciding with the project’s approval by The Miracle for Africa Foundation. To be constructed of local stone, bamboo and concrete, the library will provide 66,000 square feet (6,132 square meters) of study and gathering space to the community.
The 66,000 sq. ft. library is organized via a section that provides maximum reflected light to the interior with optimum solar PV collection on the roofs
The library has been organized using a tiered section that will provide maximum reflected light to the free plan interior space, with meeting rooms and archives housed within glass, humidity-controlled enclosures. A rain collection pool in the center of the plan will direct visitors to the main circulation desk and bounce rippling reflections throughout the building in a “cloud-like light.”
The project’s signature element, the building’s curving, prefabricated Ductile concrete roof, will further bounce natural light through the space, creating what the architects call a “field within a field,” while PV panels on the rooftop will provide energy for the library. Around the building perimeter, local bamboo will be utilized to create a patterned screen to filter light and create a shaded arcade encircling the structure.
The library will be the first construction within a new campus masterplan, whose morphology draws inspirations from the paintings of a Malawi batik artist.
“There is great excitement about this project as an artistic masterpiece, and about the solar energy concept as it works with maximal light, ventilation, and humidity control, said the client, Mr. Y.K. Chung, chairman of the Miracle for Africa Foundation.
“I’m astonished at the consideration and interpretation of Malawian batik art, the reflective pool, waves in a field of light, and the philosophical axes of the campus. This project is historic, the library will be an iconic marker for a great moment in the architectural history of Malawi and for all of Africa; especially Malawi, which has been away from modern civilization for so long.”
Known as “The Warm Heart of Africa,” Malawi is one of the smaller countries on the African continent by area, containing a population of 16.7 million people. It is also among the world’s least developed countries, with a GDP per capita of only $381.40. The Miracle for Africa Foundation was founded to serve the people of Malawi and Africa by expanding healthcare, education, and agricultural opportunities. You can learn more about the Miracle for Africa Foundation, here.
News via Steven Holl Architects.