Varsity Library, One for the Books
The Sol Plaatje University (SPU) Library and Student Resource Centre (located on Central Campus) opened its doors in December 2017 and has since, not shied away from the new.
Walking away with the laurels at this year’s 14th edition of the International Architecture Awards, the Library and Student Resource Centre brought competitors to book.
Founded in 2005, the International Architecture Awards is one of the oldest annual public celebrations of global architecture and is dedicated to public education concerning architecture and industrial design.
This year saw a record number of submissions and was shortlisted to a total of 350 projects (120 buildings from 419 nations). The projects on the shortlist were judged against a range of criteria including design vision, innovation and originality, capacity to stimulate, engage and delight occupants and visitors, accessibility and sustainability, how fit the building is for its purpose and the level of client satisfaction.
The Library is draped in a continuous in situ concrete shell, which takes on a strong angular diamond-like shape. Each roof corner of the building is at a different level which corresponds with the neighbouring building tying the overall precinct together as the focal point of the central campus. The diamond shape of the building is reminiscent of the diamond mining history of the city.
“SPU’s architects, Design Workshop, were successful in conceptualizing and delivering a Library and Resource Centre as the functional and physical centre-piece of university life, including a state of the art library, teaching study and social space. It is a social space where people make themselves available to wide-ranging incidental and planned interchanges in the course of daily life, both in the physical space and online, with and without books, collectively and in solitude, directed and enabled by mentors and among themselves,” said Kashini Maistry, Senior Manager of Communications and Marketing at the University.
The Awards are regarded internationally as the world’s most important global mark of excellence recognizing the best international architecture projects which find answers to complex problems of environment, social context, improving quality of life, and sustainability. Awarded under the category “Schools and Universities” SPU’s Library and Resource Centre is now recognized as one of the world’s most leading architectural sites.
The Library and Student Resource Centre provides students with various mediums of information such as eBooks, eReference and new hosts such as Sabinet (Southern African Bibliography Information Network) and ebscohost to optimize their academic success and in doing so, SPU has created a beacon of technology and forward thinking.