GEN 22 - Four Rivers and Paradise
Four Rivers and Paradise is a proposal for the Dar Al Uloum Library in Sakaka, Saudi Arabia. The project employs the idea of the Islamic garden as the guiding principle of design for the landscape and also of the main library building.
A series of parallel waterways organises the site into strips of different conditions. At the same time, reminiscent of the pristine waterways of traditional gardens and embedded within it, the idea of the promise of paradise. It is with the ephemeral presence of the water that the redesigned library of Dar Al Uloum will be anchored within the landscape. Yet, through the contrast and singularity of its built form, it will maintain its own autonomous presence even among the typology of its context.
In consideration of the additional area for the programs required and the preservation of the original structure, the primary typology of the building will be established with the addition of programs around the existing footprint of the current building in the form of a series of tall boxes wrapping around the current structure. Depending on the dimensions of the boxes, they will be allocated a function, as either vertical shafts or as a particular program.
4 waterways will run parallel to each other, splitting the landscape up into a series of interrelated programs and greenery. At certain moments within the waterways, it will intersect with a variety of different water features that will bring specificity to the site within this overarching order. If carefully engineered, the waterways could also potentially serve as irrigation channels for the landscape. Various pavilions are spread out across these waterways.
Within the series of waterways in the surrounding landscape, this pool of water is the largest body of water and at a higher elevation than the rest of the water. Water flows from this pool into the waterways themselves, becoming the fountain that provides for the land around it. Thus, while the gardens and the landscape around the main building, with its four rivers, are reminders of the promise of paradise, the library itself is the enabler for this paradise to exist. The heart of this paradise, in fact, lies within the library. Knowledge, embodied by the library, is the source of wisdom, but in this effect, also, the source of life.