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Why Did You Leave The House Alone?

Part 2 Project 2014
Marianne Safi
American University of Beirut Beirut Lebanon
Inspired by the Library of Babel by J. Borges, this project aims to challenge the program of the library by proposing an alternative system of operation.

Located on the Dammas Street, the site used to house the former residence of renowned author Amin Maalouf. The house belongs to a homogenous traditional neighborhood. Despite its official classification as a protected heritage site, the residence was destroyed in order to accommodate a high-end residential building.

The library occupies the same place & boundaries of Maalouf’s house, a permanent visual reminder of what was.

Its program commemorates Amin Maalouf’s in addition to aiding the cultural growth of Dammas street; effectively cementing the street as an emerging cultural axis in the city.

The proposed library relies on two coexisting systems. The first system accommodates a regular book organization based on the dewy decimal system. The books occupy the center of the open plan space in order to facilitate circulation. Within this system, a series of disturbances occur; the second system. Those disturbances manifest themselves as enclosed reading boxes affecting the slabs and the book layout of the library proper.

Inside the reading boxes, the reader is invited to enter the space & succumb to its own rules, allowing the readers to create their own routing system inside the designated spaces, reshuffling the books according to their interest.

Each reading box is strictly defined by its own logic, independent of each other & from the entire library. Every reading box offers a different reading experience. The boxes are located at different levels inside the library according to the theme of each box. The reader inside becomes a flâneur invited to stroll & be seduced by books. The migration of books inside each box is dictated with every new user, effectively permuting & shuffling according to each user’s personal interest & reading habits.

Marianne Safi

Tutor(s)

2014
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