Critique at University of Virginia
Critique at University of Virginia


This project was developed by Rania Mohamed as a student from American University of Sharjah and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Facilities category.

The Muweilah Public library is located in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The site is characterised by the variety of people around. There is the Educational Zone, The Industrial Area as well as multiple classes of Residential Zones. The library intends to serve all users in Muweilah.

Using Kevin Lynch’s Image of the City in my Site Analysis I was drawn to autonomous public buildings in my city. The Mosque and the Stadium, both break out of the city regulations and grids in terms of monumentality, program, and orientation. They break out of the city rules to serve their function.

In plan, the autonomy of my building is explored through the skin which on the exterior, it serves as an object in the landscape while providing users on the with various reading/researching possibilities on the interior. On the exterior, the skin folds to create a threshold on the street side to allow entry. It then folds vertically on the left side of the building to wrap around the independent part of the library which includes the café and conference room at the ground level, research desks on the next floor, and private reading spaces on the last. These spaces can be accessed directly from the side entrance without the user having to interact with the rest of the library. The Plaza follows the more public part of the library on the right side. The skin continues folding around the second floor to create the most private space in the library which includes the Study Rooms and Offices. The skin begins to crack on the third floor following the angle of the sun.

In section, the autonomy is expressed in the diagrammatic gesture of Section AA in terms of continuity while various lighting conditions were explored in Section BB. Sectionally, various heights are found around the library to provide various reading experiences within the same space.