King Fahad National Library

Competition 1st prize, 2002
Completion 2015
Client Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia
GFA 86.632 m²
Gross Volume 452.000 m³

The King Fahad National Library, one of the most important cultural buildings in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was completed and went into use for its intended purpose in 2015. This project sees Professor Eckhard Gerber and his Gerber Architekten team accomplishing one of the most important urban development and cultural projects in the capital, Riyadh. The design functions as the central driving force behind a piece of urban development and rearrangement, and combines the challenge of designing within the existing building stock with respect for Arabian culture.

> Landscape Architecture

> Interior Design

> Urban Design

The theme of sustainability using up-to-date energy concepts and rational building structures runs through all our activities as a crucial idea that is taken for granted

Prof. Eckhard Gerber

Interior Design

The entire former roof of the existing building, which occupies an extensive area, now provides a reading landscape flooded with light and offers a special atmosphere that will encourage the exchange of knowledge in this way. Inside – as if hidden in a treasure chest, a knowledge storehouse – are the book stacks. Visitors access the open-access sections on the third floor of the new building via bridges from the reading area. Everything is covered by a new roof, punctuated by skylights under which white membranes gently distribute the light throughout the entire interior.


The key element of the façade was developed especially for the new building. It is a cladding made up of rhomboid textile awnings, marked by its play with revealing and concealing. Inserted white membranes, supported by a three-dimensional, tensile-stressed steel cable structure, act as sunshades and interpret the Arabian tent structure tradition in a modern, technological way. This sequence of old and new creates a uniform and prestigious overall architectural appearance with characteristic styling. At night the façade glows in a soft white light and becomes the city’s cultural lighthouse.

Location Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Competition 2002
Construction dates 2008 – 2015
GFA 86.632 m²
Gross Volume 452.000 m³
2015 Architizer A+ Award – Architecture + Material - Finalist
MIPIM Award – Best Refurbished - Building Shortlist
MIPIM Award – Special Jury Award - Shortlist
Ingenieurbaupreis des Deutschen Stahlbaus
2014 Detail Preis – Nominee
WAN Award Façade - Short Listed
German Design Award
Iconic Award
Meed Award – Social Project of the year
Meed Award – GCC
International Architecture Design Award
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