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ITU Library / Istanbul / Turkey


ITU Library / Istanbul

Architectural Project & Design:
Gokhan Avcioglu & GAD
Project Team:
Oguz Cankan, Seda Tugutlu, Cemal Erol, Emre Bilol, Ensar Kaya, Burak Paksoy, Beste Dabakoglu, Aylin Degirmen, Volkan Kutal, Aysu Aysoy
Building Type:
Experimental, Public
Construction Area:
5000 m2
Project Site Area:
9000 m2
Mipim AR Future Project Awards 2018 - Commended
The Istanbul Technical University Library design by GAD proposes a new information based program for the main university library but importantly envisions a innovative knowledge based experience for the whole Istanbul Technical University Maslak, Istanbul campus.  The existing ITU university library which no longer has the capacity to physically or conceptually meet the needs of the school will be joined by a new building with a physical and organization in tune with the zeitgeist of the digital age. The design calls for an expansive structural system in reinforced concrete and steel that provides an organizational rationale for the shelving of books as well the structure of the building that will serve as a model for the future vision of the university. The design centers on a system of arcades that join together generating the individual volumes of the building. The non-standard geometry of these arcades creates an organic experience of space and light bringing together the exterior and interior as one environment. This icon in the center of the Istanbul Technical University Campus envisions a future where information, man and nature are joined together as one.
GAD’s design is a modular and algorithmic system based on the idea of rising stairs. The most rigid and permanent dimension in the architecture is that of the stair riser with a dimension of 15x30cm and its multiples that serves as the basis for the size all of the other elements in an expansive organic structure.  Following a iterative geometric order, shelves from 30x30, 45x45, 60x60, etc., are stacked and combined to create hybrid structure and programmatic volumes that define rooms and openings for circulation such as door frames.  The interior is in this way a hybrid mix of structure and shelving resulting in a fluid space for a space open to all students at all times.
The design is based on an algorithmic generation of form acts as an interface between information and structure. The expansive modularity of the system creates a liquid, organic arrangement conducive to the flow of information in a new electronically mediated idea of the library as an interface. The ancient libraries of the east from Alexandria to Suleymaniye to Constantinople were centers of information and knowledge that is source for our concept of this library as a new icon of knowledge. Students and library users enter into this immersive experience picking their path through the library to discover data and information from GAD’s design of algorithmic structure of arcades. Overall this experience of the new library buildings seeks to open up Istanbul Technical University Library as innovative zone of expansive of form and structure to a 21st century idea of organic knowledge.The Libraray’s Arcade makes both Reading and OtherAreas Sacred Places of Refuge. In the traditional sense of the world, there are no window glass frames, here, arcades make both reading and other areas as a sacred place of refuge. Light enters mysteriously from above and from the sides, casting emotional shadows.  But the interior glow produced from the diffusion and refracting of light is consistent all year round, so the library is operational in every season. Imagine shelves that not only organize and hold books but at the same time organize and carry the structure of the building itself. The most rigid and permanent dimension in all of architecture is that of the stair riser.  This dimension, 15x30cm, and its multiples serve the basis for sizing all of the other elements.  Following this order, shelves, whether 30x30, 45x45, 60x60, etc., are stacked and combined creating naturally perfect and comfortable structures defining rooms and openings, such as door frames.  The way in which the structure is handled is evolving the earliest library structures. First, the developments in construction and media technologies along with additional program, functions, and responsibilities of libraries and librarians are taken into account and applied as a pure and simplified concept, even on the level of structural details such as columns, brackets, and railings.   The main building material is a clear, ultraviolet free composite that transfers additional lighting throughout the interiors.