YBA was asked to lead an international competition effort to design a new Library for Al Azhar University in Cairo, the world’s second oldest University. A global center of Islamic scholarship, the project integrates modern learning resources into a straightforward building that re-interprets traditional typologies. The monolithic form of the exterior relates to site geometries and the prominent position of the building along one of the city’s busiest arterial streets. Composed of stratified bands of suspended Tura limestone, the skin connects to the local context and aids in passive cooling. The shell opens to an expansive, yet intimate atrium, carefully daylit from compound pyramidal vaults and adorned with a vast array of tiny suspended lamps, conjuring a feeling of learning under the stars.