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Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Alexandria, Egypt, Competition, 1989


The land allocated for the Library complex is characterized by the proximity to the sea, on the waterfront of the CORNICHE, at the point where the finger-peninsula of ancient Lochias and Selselah-Garden touches the shore-line. The location is most central in the urban fabric of the greater Alexandria city, and constitutes a gap of discontinuity in the architectural built mass of the Corniche facade facing the sea. The proposed Library-design interlocks the architectural flow of the Corniche building continuity.


Two formal considerations are taken as meaningful for the orientation of the design idea:
a. The main axis of symmetry of the University building (law and commerce auditoriums).
b. The bowing curvature of the Corniche sea way, approximating a sector of a circle, with its radial centre at the university circus.

The proposed layout of the library complex follows and echoes the convex curvature of the Corniche, whose centre is located within the middle of the university circle, on its main south-north axis. As a result, a fan-like lattice of radii and circles is created which serves as a coherent organisational system of the complex program. The fan-like lattice also possesses meta-formal layers of meaning, which support the symbolic architectural expression of this library. It is the unique spread of the Delta of the Nile.

Government of Egypt, International Competition


Site area:


Structural Engineer:
Weintraub – Naginski, Tel Aviv, Israel

Ofer Amir