Rumi at the Library

Greenwood Barton Architects

The cafe is located within the Abdel Hamid Shoman Library, it is accessed via the reading spaces and bookshelves of the library. Like the original Rumi cafe in Jebal Al Weibdeh, it is a place of creative exchange and community but also provides for those who wish to work, study or read a book on their own. Large shared tables facilitate this interaction.


The building, which was originally designed as a commercial center and now accommodates the Shoman Foundation and library, had been refurbished expediently over time. We removed these layers (the suspended ceiling, vinyl flooring and redundant services) to reveal the character of the existing building, this included a rough concrete coffered ceiling which now serves to connect the cafe with other areas of the building where it is also exposed. A thin wash of warm grey paint forms a clear but muted backdrop to brightly coloured objects and plants which appear to float. The choice and design of the furnishings, which include a range of seating by Local Industries, pick up on the 1980’s architecture of the library.

The space allocated for the cafe is flanked on one side by a long tinted window which opens to the street and on the other by a study space which is popular among students who rely on its calm, studious atmosphere. The cafe will provide an alternative space where students and other users can enjoy a more relaxed environment. The acoustic separation between the cafe and study space is achieved by a full height glazed partition. Plants hanging from the ceiling provide manifestation for the glass and filter the activities of the cafe from the rest of the library.

About the Architect

Greenwood Barton Architects is an architectural design office located in Amman, Jordan. Their work is varied in scale and type and includes new builds as well as conservation of historic buildings and interior design. Projects are characterized by specific criteria, including the geographical context and the needs of the client. We aim to make sense of these criteria to produce robust and memorable spaces where people can feel comfortable.

Project Info

Project Name: Rumi at the Library
Location: Abdel Hamid Shoman Library, First Circle, Amman, Jordan
Date (completion): April 2016
Client: The Shoman Foundation and Ayman Taqatqa
Architect: Greenwood Barton Architects
Photography: Matthew Barton (MB)

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