Iraq unveils plans for first new public library since 1970s

Image courtesy of AMBS
Asharq Al-Awsat
Tue, Jul 16, 2013

by Abeer Mishkhas

Image courtesy of AMBS

A British–Iraqi architectural firm has unveiled designs for a new public library in Iraq, the first to be built in the country since the 1970s. The architectural ambition of the Baghdad library is clear to see, incorporating both a futuristic design design and historical characteristics.

The tear-drop design is the brainchild of the AMBS architectural firm and is set to be the jewel in the crown of Baghdad’s new Youth City project. The 480,000 square foot building brings together form, function, and cultural significance and is designed to engage and empower visitors, and encourage open exchange. The new Baghdad library is also set to feature the world’s largest reading room. The library, along with the Youth City project that will see the establishment of a number of youth-oriented buildings and projects in Baghdad, aims to inspire the country’s youth.

Saad Eskander, Director of the National Library of Iraq said, “It is imperative for the new Iraq to consolidate its young democracy and good governance through knowledge. New libraries have a notable role to play by promoting unconditional access to information, freedom of expression, cultural diversity and transparency. By responding to the needs of Iraq’s next generations, the new library, we hope, will play an important role in the future of our country.”

AMBS are partnering with the New York-based ACA Consultants firm—one of the world’s leading library consultants and planners—with the aim of building a collection of over three million books, including rare manuscripts and periodicals. The library will also house cutting-edge technology, performance and event spaces.

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