Arena-style library at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi sports circular walnut bookshelves
Located in the heart of the Zayed University campus in Abu Dhabi, the new Campus Library was designed by Hadi Teherani, an internationally renowned architect from Germany. Construction of the new facility took over 7 months to complete and has been widely received and praised by both students and staff as an attractive and very endearing venue for research and reading.
AHK Interiors, a leading interior design, project design and management firm was awarded the joinery works for the new Abu Dhabi campus and signed an AED15m ($4m) contract with Al Habtoor Murray and Roberts Venture. The contract included the construction and implementation of fixed joinery, general cupboards, feature glass walls, timber floors and radial shelving.
The new Zayed Campus Library, which is one of the largest university libraries in the Middle East, measures approximately 40,000 sq m and is part of the 28 new buildings that have been completed for the new campus inside Khalifa City. Particular focus was given to the new library, which is the university’s premier learning resource facility for both students and faculty. The library, which has been valued at over AED3bn, takes on a circular arena-like setting and houses around 150,000 books from the Zayed Library collection.
The architects founded their design on traditional amphitheatres, so students can sit around a circular based theatre while the teacher can lecture from the centre. AHK Interiors specified American walnut throughout the whole library from the library’s flooring and bookshelves, to the wall featured wood cladding. Walnut was chosen for its dark earthy colour and strong aesthetic presence. The AHK design team was asked to present the library in such a way that it showcased a joint-less veneer appearance, highlighting the continuous flow of the natural grain of American walnut.
“We had chosen to use American walnut across the whole library because of its strong characteristics, including its straight grained appearance and its durability, being highly resistant to heartwood decay. This new library lives, breathes and emanates the key beauty provided by such a strong and durable hardwood like American walnut. In fact, the walnut creates a modern look while keeping true to the nostalgia of historic libraries. The timber also warms the environment and simultaneously provides a modern, classic and comfortable feeling,” said Carrie Das, Design Manager, AHK Interiors.
Construction for the library took at least seven months with over 200 workers working on and off site. The initial 2 months were spent in AHK’s 15,000 sq m furniture factory in Antalya, Turkey, ensuring the delivery of the best quality service in terms of production. Work off site at the factory included the production of the book shelves.
17 tonnes of 30mm veneered MDF were produced which was then cut according to the curved radius on the CNC machine and wrapped around the structural steel elements which were to remain concealed behind the veneered shelves and vertical gables. The following five months covered the installation of structural steel elements, veneered MDF installations, timber floor installation and the welding and installation of the powder coated perforated sheeting.