Mohammed Bin Rashid Library - A Homage to Cultural Heritage

Written by Silvana Fitzpatrick

Dubai opened its doors to a new landmark on 16th of June 2022, emerging as a distinctive cultural hub where history, traditions and civilizations come together under one roof. The building is a symbolic representation of Dubai’s cultural face and an architectural statement of beauty and ingenuity that spreads over seven floors and 57,000 square meters comprising nine libraries and over one million books.

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library takes pride of place along the old picturesque heritage district of Dubai Creek, Al Jaddaf, and has been meticulously designed to emulate the shape of a traditional Islamic lectern which holds the Holy Quran. The library invites book lovers to immerse themselves in the magical world of reading with one of the best collections in the Arab region.

Since the design takes the shape of an open book sitting on top of a traditional wooden book rest, this architectural masterpiece draws in passers-by eager to discover a unique attraction that is so much more than just a random library. This is an impactful intellectual hub, nurturing UAE’s growing spirit for development, curiosity, and exploring above and beyond the mundane.

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library

Inside the Iconic Building

Your new home for literature and leisure, Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is a unique venue that celebrates heritage and the written word. It is on its way to becoming a community hub, a place for interacting, learning and personal development. Entry to the library is free and there are plans in place at the moment to facilitate borrowing books in the near future.

The building is made up of seven floors, each taking you on a different journey through the history of books.

On the first floor, the Mohammed bin Rashid Library welcomes you with a general library space. The nine libraries in the building are home to various sections covering multiple topics and domains, such as Periodicals, Special Collections, Media & Arts, Children and a section reserved entirely for the United Arab Emirates. The library section devoted to the UAE showcases first editions of virtually every book ever printed or published in the nation.

Additionally, there are more than 5,000 historical prints and digital journals, 35,000 print and digital newspapers from around the world, 500 rare manuscripts, six million dissertations, 73,000 music scores, 75,000 films, and13,000 articles.

All the printed and digital books are available in over 30 languages, including English, Arabic, and Braille for the visually impaired. The library caters for people of determination and autistic people with the presence of quiet, tranquil areas, where many can find soothing comfort and reflect in peace.

Library and Garden

Symbolic Design

Book enthusiasts and art lovers will rejoice in the symbolic design of the library. It is intentional, spiritual and inspiring. The seven-storey masterpiece of glass and steel was designed by award-winning architect Alberto Kalach and took three years to complete. Today it holds space for one million books, among many other collectables.

The interior design is equally alluring as soon as visitors walk in, reminiscent of a beautiful oasis of serenity and contemplation, with walls of books waiting to be explored in the light-filled lobby. Here guests can unwind with a nice read, plug in laptops for work or study, or wander at the rare manuscripts and first-edition volumes on show in the exhibition room on the seventh floor.

Architect Alberto Kalach is mainly responsible for cultural and educational architectural work that beautifully blend into the natural environment, integrating the concrete structures with green surroundings, like in the case of The Languages Garden at Mohammed Bin Rashid Library. The outdoor area is paying homage to the founder of the Library, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President & Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Languages Garden displays 60 pillars with quotes on leadership, written by His Highness.

Award-Winning Library

The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum have awarded The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library with a 2022 Green Good Design Award.

The building’s façade materials were all carefully selected and used in accordance with the strictest standards for adherence to sustainable building practices.Environmentally friendly materials were also used in the design and construction of the building’s interior finishes.

The design also pays homage to sustainable technology, innovation and green features, fully integrated in the structure using the latest artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.

Inside the MBR Library

The library has a basement and a ground floor, followed by a fully automated book storage section run by robots. This section is connected to the ground floor by a smart monorail system which transports books from the storage area to the bottom floor as needed, thus facilitating an electronic retrieval system with the help of robots.

In addition, Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is constructed according to the Dubai Green Building Rating System. The building has adopted a high-efficient energy consumption process, implementing measures to ensure that energy is distributed equally between the car park area, the rest of the structure, and the rooftop, all of which resulted in 40% less energy consumption.

Dubai is typically recognized for its glitz and glamour, luxury cars and penthouses, seven-star hotels, and trade and tourism. But there has been a cultural renaissance of sorts in the city over the past few years, with the revamping of the city’s historic Al Bastakiya District, the prevalence of art galleries, and the introduction of the Dubai Opera. Now, the famous Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is sending out a strong message about Dubai’s rich, cultural heritage, and there is no better way to convey that message than via books.