MALAWI LIBRARYLilongwe, Malawi 2019
PROGRAM: Library and Masterplan
CLIENT: Miracle for Africa Foundation
Library 6,500 sq. m. and Masterplan 142,500 sq. m.
The 6,500 sqm. library is organized via a section that provides maximum reflected light to the interior with optimum solar PV collection on the roofs. Natural light bouncing off curved prefabricated roof structures made of Ductile concrete form space like a “field within a field.”
The free plan library has meeting rooms and archives encased in glass for sound isolation and humidity control. A central rain collecting pool demarks the main circulation desk and ripples through the roof geometry like a wave field in cloud-like light.
The construction will utilize local materials and local labor. Screens of locally crafted bamboo plywood define the building perimeter leaving a shaded arcade space all around. The comfort concept is based on the local identity of the site at an altitude of 1250 m, with high solar gains from high sun positions, a temperature profile dominated by the rain season with a few peaks above 35°C, but cool nights below 22°C.
Limiting solar gains with roof overhangs but supporting cross ventilation of the building by permeable but dust filtering facades in combination with exposed thermal mass to buffer the free night cooling keeps the operative temperature in a comfortable band without any mechanical conditioning.
The curved roof blades allow load free daylight supply from South and maximize the energy collection surfaces for roof integrated photovoltaic. Already 20% of the roof are sufficient for a net zero energy balance of the library, and the other 80% of the fully PV covered roof will be used to feed further buildings on the campus.
This library will be the initial construction of a new campus whose master plan morphology has been inspired by paintings of a Malawi batik artists. All buildings will be within a 5 minute walking distance ensuring that the campus is pedestrian oriented.
Malawi, called “The Warm Heart of Africa” has a population of 16.7 million. It is among the smallest countries in Africa (Lake Malawi is 1/3 its area). It is among the world’s least developed countries with the world’s lowest income per person (according to World Bank Report, 2016). The Miracle for Africa Foundation aims to serve the people of Malawi and Africa in need by expanding healthcare, education, and agricultural opportunities.
Learn more about the Miracle for Africa Foundation here.
- 2017 LAFARGEHOLCIM AWARDS 2017 FOR MIDDLE EAST + AFRICA
- 2018 PROGRESSIVE ARCHITECTURE AWARD, CITATION
- 09 September 2017: Steven Holl Architects' Malawi Library One of Eleven Winners for LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 Middle East + Africa Competition
- 09 December 2016: Library and Campus Masterplan Approved by the Miracle for Africa Foundation in Malawi, Africa
- 04 October 2016: Steven Holl Architects has been retained to design a central library and five million square meter campus masterplan in Malawi
- Steven Holl ( design architect, principal )
- JongSeo Lee ( senior associate in charge ) Hannah Ahlblad, Lourenz Amaro de Oliveira, Okki Berendschot, Suk Lee (project team)
- associate architects
- structural engineer
- MEP engineer
– Steven Holl Architects
– Junglim Architecture