A National Knowledge Icon
The National Library Building is a knowledge icon located in the heart of the arts, cultural, entertainment and civic district of Singapore. As an icon and a prominent landmark, it embodies the nation's unflinching pursuit of excellence and its people's lifelong passion for knowledge and learning.
Local and Overseas Interest
Since it was opened in 2005, the building receives close to 4 million visits annually by both local and overseas communities. Counted among these are dignitaries such as the former First Lady of the United States of America Laura Bush, the Imperial Emperor and Empress of Japan, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan, and His Excellency Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland.
Equipped to Meet Evolving Information Needs
The draw of the building is enhanced and sustained by the quality of its vast library collections, programmes, services, and facilities. Housed within the 16-storey state-of-the-art library building are rare materials like letters written by Sir Stamford Raffles in the early 1800s and documents from the Straits Settlements era.
Other facilities such as seminar rooms, exhibition promenades and an open Plaza at the ground floor have all been used regularly for many types of activities and events.
The National Library Board's corporate headquarters is on Level 14 and a function area called The Pod, which offers a panoramic view of the cityscape, is on Level 16.
The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, which has a reference collection of over 600,000 items in various formats and subjects, is co-located with the Central Public Library in the same building to make its diverse library collections and services more accessible to people from all walks of life. This is to cater to those who use the library for different purposes at different stages of their lives, to better meet their evolving learning needs and lifestyle and support their pursuit of knowledge and passion for learning.
Besides its library collections and facilities, the building, which has a site area of 11,304 square metres and a gross floor area of about 58,783 square metres also provides space for other public activities, such as the 615-seat Drama Centre.
Designed as an integrated learning centre where individual learning is experienced through both high-tech and high-touch elements, we are committed to meeting our users' needs for connectivity, efficiency, convenience and comfort.
Internationally Acclaimed 'Green' Building
The National Library Building is an innovative 'green' building designed as a "Library for the Tropics" using bioclimatic design techniques.
Internationally recognised as an architectural icon and designed as a 'green' building, its deployment of various innovative 'green' features helps to keep the building operating in an energy-efficient way and to do its part for a more sustainable environment.
Key 'green' features include the use of bioclimatic vegetation and landscaping to improve the indoor thermal environment and a lighting control system that switches off lighting when there is sufficient natural light to illuminate the building interior, as detected by light sensors. The building is also heavily shaded to reduce solar heat gain through the facade. In supporting efforts towards environmental sustainability, NLB is one of the founding members of the Singapore Green Building Council.
Key Green Features
- Building is oriented away from the East-West sun, combined with sun-shading features on the West face of the building as an additional shield against solar heat gain and glare. Sun-shading features include the low-emissive double-glazed glass panel facade and large overhangs on the external facade
- Light shelves that extend into the library space reflect sunlight further into the building. This optimizes daylight and thus reduces the use of artificial lighting.
- Energy efficient features include daylight sensors that are used together with automatic blinds at the building facades, public toilets installed with motion sensors and energy efficient lightings that are switched on only when required after closure of the library.
- Use of rain sensors as part of the automatic irrigation system for landscaped areas. Water efficient taps and cisterns are also used to conserve water.
- Extensive landscaping, sky terraces and roof gardens are utilized to lower local ambient temperature.
- Night setback for air-conditioning system in the library spaces after library operation hours with automated chiller controls.
- An open Plaza area at the first storey admits natural ventilation and daylighting. Stack effect at the open Plaza (i.e. the air from the sides of the building is drawn upward between the link bridges and in-between the two blocks).
- Energy monitoring via BMS (Building Management System).
The 'green' concept fulfills NLB's corporate social responsibility in being environmentally friendly. Besides the benefits of lower energy consumption and operating costs, the 'green' technologies have made the running of the National Library Building more efficient.
We have significant cost savings on our energy bill compared to a similar building without the 'green' features. The operational costs would have been higher if not for the 'green' features.
Awards & Accolades
For the considerable 'green' outcomes achieved, the National Library Building (NLB) has also won several awards.
In recognition of its environmental friendliness, it was awarded the Green Mark Platinum Award in April 2005. This is the highest honour for 'green' buildings in Singapore bestowed by the local Building and Construction Authority (BCA). The building received re-certification of the Green Mark Platinum Award under the “Existing Buildings” category in March 2009.
In July 2007, it also won First Prize in the ASEAN Energy Efficiency Award under the 'New and Existing Building' category.
In May 2007, the National Library Building won the Silver Award in the Universal Design Award from BCA, for its wide spaces, good lighting, accessibility and clarity in way finding.
As a result of its 'green' fame, NLB has received many visitors from various countries, including the United States, Thailand, Indonesia and India, to look at the 'green' features of the National Library Building. These visitors have been impressed with the extent of planning and implementation of the 'green' features in the building while ensuring good indoor air quality. We also have visitors, including students and academics, from local and overseas educational institutions, interested in the 'green' aspects of the building.
Its Abiding Hope
The unique towering design of the National Library Building makes it a prominent landmark in Singapore. It stands as an iconic testimony to the superior building performance that can be achieved through the skillful combination of the art and science of architecture.
Beyond that, the building symbolises the nation's aspirations to be a global centre for information, knowledge and technology and also invigorates the imagination of the people with the creative possibilities of good design.
It is the abiding hope of NLB that the National Library Building will be a gateway to new worlds of opportunity for Singaporeans and, in time, their beacon of lifelong learning and knowledge for success.