Only a few days ago the Library of the University of Cyprus (Information Center “Stelios Ioannou”) opened its doors were guided on its premises. This is the most impressive, perhaps, building ever made in Cyprus. With the signature of Jean Nouvel, one of the most important architects of our time.
Nine November, two weeks before the inauguration – but which were canceled after a strike on construction sites – dozens of people are working on different levels trying to finish the project. Even teams from other countries place the specialized materials from which they are made parts of the building, which was first used in Cyprus. Like for example the materials in the dome: Hexagonal cells from white cast aluminum filtering light and diffuse inside.
The dome, with a diameter of 40 meters, is the hub of the Library. Highly complex to manufacture, and determining the character and function of the interior. At the top, a tracker diameter 5 meters vertically directing a light beam to the lowest level of the building. The SunStar is a specialized construction with swing shutters and ceiling light.
Natural light diffuses into all the lower level readers by reflecting the beam of light on the surface of a 24m white cone that is located at the center of the inner central aisle. The cone that permeates all five floors and around all functions evolve.
In the first radius around the cone are the bookstores and reading rooms within the nucleus circle, and outside the circle are the operating areas (staff offices, amphitheater, multimedia halls, technical support and printing rooms, computer labs, production studios and other). On the first three floors, around the circle, there are 31 chambers that will function as readers for smaller work groups, up to six people. These chambers, made of metal and a red, unbreakable, thick glass, add another impressive element, just like the spiral stairs that join the floors.
The most impressive area is undoubtedly the 3rd floor just above the dome, where the whole ring houses a large reading room that spreads to the plateau of the artificial hill forming the entire composition at a height of 14 meters from the ground. From here you can go out and walk on the roof of the hill-building with panoramic views.
While inside all evolve into a circular shape under the dome and around the cone, outside what one sees is a hill in a shape similar to those of Aronas area. The artificial hill is not the building but the surrounding. This partially opened outward with the south and north west side to form part of the slope of the hill. The entire surface is covered with a green film that also acts as a sunscreen.
In addition to this, other design features have to do with the bioclimatic philosophy that governs almost all the works of Jean Nouvel. And of course the building is equipped with the most modern technology. Floors to absorb sound, noise protection panels on the walls, controlled lighting, doors fire airtight preventing fire spread, fire extinguishing systems operate with steam so as not books destroyed.
The building will house 620,000 volumes of books, over 190,000 subscriptions to titles of electronic books than 12,000 subscriptions to electronic and printed journals and beyond 180 titles in databases. It has around 900 study places equipped with all modern media technology as well as all sources of information and services are accessible throughout the scientific community of Cyprus, but also to every citizen. It also has a children’s section.
The cost of building the building was 33 million (excluding equipment). The donation of Elli Ioannou, amounting to € 8,000,000, was donated in memory of her husband, hence the name “Information Center – Stelios Ioannou Library”. The project was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Operational Program “Competitiveness and Sustainable Development 2014-2020”. With Jean Nouvel’s office, I& A Philippou collaborated as local architects. Coordinating work had Technical University Services. The construction lasted seven years.
Piperaris has contributed to the provision and installation of a fully automated, fully automated management solution for the RFID library (radio frequency identification), sorting system, auto loan machines, etc. This advanced technology serves the needs of the new state-of-the-art Information Center – Stelios Ioannou Library of the University of Cyprus.
As announced, will be open to the public from November 26. A section will be open 24 hours a day, while book returns will automatically be made in a special mailbox without human intervention. All books have been tagged with a microchip so nothing can leave without being recorded.
Article by Chrystalla Hatzidimitriou – Photos by Christos Papaioannou