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Completion of the Stockholm City Library

competition 2007



The design for an extension of the famous Stockholm Public Library by Erik Gunnar Asplund draws on the original masterplan (by Asplund himself) of four buildings alongside the main library buildings. It creates pedestrian access from street level and the planned underground station to the popular Observatory Hill with its park above. Between the four slender blocks of the new library, which are connected on the underground level by service spaces, meeting rooms, back-of-house areas and archives, stretches a landscape that re-creates the original slope of the hill (which had been removed for the construction of the library) and creates open air spill-out and resting areas with hard and soft landscaping. The material palette of the building draws on traditional Swedish architecture: timber, rough-hewn and polished dark-grey granite vertical plates diffusing the light as it enters the building, and clear glass. At night, the buildings become a shining spectacle: the light, shining through the glass slots in the envelope, creates a play of shadows on the rough texture of the stone fins and, on the other side, reflects off their highly polished side. Walking around, day and night, the building changes in front of the viewer’s eyes: the roughly hewn faces of the “reverse” of the fins transform into the darker, highly polished granite of the front face.

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