STOCKHOLM PUBLIC LIBRARY

Complementing the Asplund Library’s traditional mission to collect, structure and store books, the new Public Library must provide a source of inspiration that opens doors, incites curiosity and facilitates communication for the people of 21st century Stockholm.  It must be a Meeting Room for the City as well as a model of efficient library planning.  In terms of site, the fundamental challenge of this competition is to fuse the City, the Park, the Asplund Building and the New Library into a vibrant whole.

The expansion of the Stockholm Library presents the extraordinary opportunity to integrate and juxtapose Asplund’s Library, as a symbol of the mind, with the spaciousness and indeterminacy of its “old home” - the Swedish landscape.  Fractured and ephemeral, the architecture of the new library is not a copy of nature.  It is a modern coastline of the imagination, harboring seekers of all ages, and made of glass, metal, and electronic images reflecting in water. 

The New Library can be gracefully inserted into the hillside as a respectful extension of the west wing of the Asplund Building and of the park above.  Levels 2 & 3 form a base of active public space, pressed right against the sidewalk on Odengatan.  Levels 4, 5, and 6 are cut back from the street plane and the Asplund Building in a series of vertical facets to reveal a roof top Reflecting Pool and Digital Gallery.  The fragmented geometry serves to catch and reflect the light on this northern slope to create luminous and contemplative places for the Subject Areas of the Library.  The green roof of Level 6 becomes an extension of Observatory Hill, brought out to the street edge as a Festival Park and Sculpture Walk, and tied back to the public life of the street with outdoor escalators, stairs and elevator.

Purdy O'Gwynn Architects, Inc.  / T 215.925.5600 / © 2020 by Purdy O'Gwynn Architects, Inc.

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