In our ongoing series that looks at iconic glass structures, today we’ll look at the National Library of Belarus. The library was originally opened in 1922 and houses the country’s largest collection of printed materials. It’s also home to the world’s third largest collection of Russian language books.
The current building was opened in January 2006 and features 22 floors. The building holds about 2,000 visitors, as well as a 500-seat conference theater. According to the library, the building welcomes about 2,200 visitors each day. The building’s design features an unusual complex polyhedron known as a rhombicuboctahedron, which consists of 18 squares and 8 triangles perched on a stylobate.
The library is made from a concrete base, which supports the rhombicuboctahedron. This space houses the library’s collections, and also provides storage space for other materials. Its current collection exceeds 9 million items, including rare manuscripts, newspapers and magazines, documents, music, videos, CDs, maps, theses and digital resources.
The main entrance to the library building is reminiscent of an open book. The dominant geometry of the building is normally associated with a particular diamond cut, which the architects used to represent the value of knowledge. The design also features both an open-air skydeck and an indoor skydeck, which are open to the public.
Architects Mihail Vinogradov and Viktor Kramarenko provided the principal design via a design contest held in 1989. The design approval process lasted 13 years. Construction of the new building took place between 2002 and 2006.
The total building area is about 114,000 square meters. The building’s glass façade serves double-duty as a massive LED screen with more than 4,500 light sources. It is frequently lit for special displays, and can generate more than 65,000 colors at one time.
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Photo Credit: G Travels, via Flickr.com