Tiny Library for the Maasai, 2021 competition entry

This project entwines global and local scales of cultural realization.

Globally, libraries as we know them are becoming obsolete. Film and audio have become the reigning forms of information. The library must change.

Locally, the nomadic Maasai people are settling into permanent towns, as dictated by Tanzanian and Kenyan governments. These people deserve a place to preserve their leg- ends and histories.

I propose a library hub for each community. As a place for the recording and collection of local traditions and stories, the library grounds the community in the specificity of the people who live here.

The library’s architecture is a mixture of local materials and factory-made custom compo- nents. Striking a sinuous line in the landscape, a concrete wall made from local sand echoes the traditional Maasai walled village. Sitting on this wall, a wide flange underpins two “fans” of wooden trellises. At the node of each “fan” is a custom steel catch resting over concrete pads. Functionally, the primary “fan” is home to the satellite dish connecting this village to the outside world and allowing the documentation of village life. The secondary fan is outside the wall, providing a semi-covered space for the local tradition of gathering to dance.