Gerber Architekten win major architecture award

The King Fahad National Library in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia designed by Gerber Architekten has been awarded the International Architecture Design Award.

The International Architecture Design Award is considered the most prestigious international architecture award of our time. Since 2005 the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design in cooperation with the European Centre for Architecture, Art and Design has been honouring cutting-edge projects of contemporary architecture which feature outstandingly innovative design. The King Fahad National Library impressed the judges with its lightweight textile façade following traditional Middle Eastern architectural patterns and combining them with a state of the art technology.

For the International Architecture Design Award, international projects from all sectors of architecture were nominated. The independent jury, consisting of internationally known architects and teachers, had a choice of over 100 current high-quality building projects from 28 nations from each part of the globe. With this award, Gerber Architekten have joined the list of prizewinners like Norman Foster, Steven Holl, Tadao Ando and Zaha Hadid. All the awards will be presented at the symposium “The City and the World“, during the second Istanbul Design Biennial, starting on 1 November 2014.

This project sees Professor Eckhard Gerber and his Gerber Architekten team accomplishing one of the most important urban development and cultural projects in the Saudi 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. The symbolic cuboid shape of the new building surrounds the existing building on all sides, thus presenting the National Library as a new architectural image in the Riyadh cityscape without abandoning the old building, which now operates as an internal stack, making it the centre of knowledge within the new library as a whole. The square new building is covered by a filigree textile façade following traditional Middle Eastern architectural patterns and linking them with state of the art technology. In addition to the International Architecture Design Award, the project recently won the Iconic Award in the “Product – Façade” category and the MEED Award, the most important architectural award in the whole Gulf Region, in the “social project of the year 2014” category.

Gerber Architekten have been working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia since 2001, and are currently designing a series of further projects, now that the King Fahad National Library is completed. In 2012, Gerber Architekten won the international competition for the Olaya Metro Station which will be the main station for the new metro in Riyadh. Another project under construction is the Prince Salman Science Oasis on Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Road, with a total of seven permanent exhibition galleries. A butterfly dome is also being planned, and a municipal library on which construction will start in 2015. They have also been commissioned with the design of the new Haram intermodal metro station, near the Kaaba in Makkah, and were winners of the competition for the Nobel Quran Oasis, a large museum for the Quran in the holy city of Madinah.

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