Dar Al-Kotob Library

Dar Al-Kotob Library

Cairo, Egypt
Brett Martin
Introduction
Opened in 870, the Egyptian National Library and Archives (Dar el-Kotob‎) in Cairo is the largest library in Egypt and is one of the most revered historical institutions of the country.
The National Library, the oldest government library, houses several million volumes on a wide range of topics. It is one of the largest in the world with thousands of ancient collections. It also contains a vast variety of Arabic-language and other Eastern manuscripts. The main library is a seven-storey building in Ramlet Boulaq, a district of Cairo. The Egyptian National Archives are contained in an annex beside the building.
Material Considerations
Representing the ancient manuscripts and archives held within its walls, a dramatic flowing script constructed from Marlon FS flat polycarbonate sheet elegantly flows through the Egyptian National Library and Archives (Dar el-Kotob‎) in Cairo. The intriguing structure curves all the way from the magnificent entrance hall and atrium to the rear of the historic building.
The design depicts manuscript being blown through the winds of time to represent the passage of knowledge and information throughout history. The manuscript itself features an ancient Arabic language and has been reproduced in a semi transparent vinyl which has been adhered directly to the polycarbonate panels.
The installation is not only aesthetic; it also fulfils a very necessary and important function for the Egyptian National Library and Archives. In this highly prized and architecturally significant national building, the polycarbonate structure acts to conceal the electromechanical facilities including the air conditioning, sprinklers, security and lighting systems.
Given the installation is suspended at height on cables from the ceiling of the library Marlon FS polycarbonate flat sheet was preferred due to its high strength to weight ratio. The installation comprises separate polycarbonate panels and as Marlon FS can be more easily cut, formed and installed compared to other glazing materials, ease of processing was a key factor in the material selection. Marlon FS has achieved a B,s1-d0 fire rating and this was a significant consideration in the material specification.
Key factors in the material selection for the Egyptian National Library and Archives project included:
- Ease of cutting
- Flexibillity of design
- High strength to weight ratio
- Excellent fire performance

  • Date: 08 Dec, 2015
  • Category: DESIGN
  • Client: Brett Martin