The design of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library has been unveiled.
Designed by Adjaye Architects in collaboration with MMA Design Studio, the rammed earth building will include a museum, a research center, an exhibition space, a women’s empowerment center, an auditorium, a cafe, seminar facilities, administrative offices, a “digital experience space,” reading rooms, and an archival hub comprising artifacts and key documents of Mbeki and other significant African historical figures.
The project’s 58,000 sf will be spread across eight domed cylinders, designed to resemble granaries. Each dome will feature a large window of varying size, shape, and orientation to create a unique ambiance in each space. An “indoor den” that runs the entire length of the building will be topped with photovoltaic panels and connect the eight cylinders. In addition to the solar panels, the building will use a geothermal heating system, along with the rammed earth facade, to passively regulate the temperature of the interior spaces and reduce the need for mechanical heating and cooling.
“The architecture of the Library taps into the collective memory of the continent through the establishment of a new historical centre for African consciousness in which knowledge, education and sustenance are nurtured in the representation and intelligence of the continent,” said Sir David Adjaye, Founder and Principal, Adjaye Associates.