Asplund Library, Stockholm, Sweden, 2006 -International Competition
The Asplund Library and Observatory Hill are of special interest to the people of Stockholm and the wider community. Besides geological and cultural qualities, both elements are significant landmarks that provide an important sense of orientation and to the locality.
The new library extension orientates itself to accommodate its neighbours, allowing them to inform what happens both outside and inside the building. The library extension creates a new journey between the other two landmarks.
A new public square unifying old and new is formed and scenic vistas of the existing Asplund Library from Karlsbergsvagen are preserved. A public route is formed from Spelbomskan Square through the library to the park above. By creating a panoramic view of Stockholm Observatory within the building, the library’s relationship with Observatory Hill is enhanced.
Much like a sponge the building draws people in by presenting new entrances into the library from all four directions, each with its own specific identity and scale. These four choices supplement the main Asplund entrance on Sveavägen:
As an extension of the reformed Spelbomskan Square, a large-scale civic entrance marks the edge of this meeting space as a major entrance to thenew facility. Odengatan is predominantly a shopping street and therefore a new shop window is created to present the Learning Zone as an integral part of the streetscape, with a large-scale entrance also visible from Odenplan. As a gateway to the hillside a smaller scale pavilion entry point extends within the gardens of Observatory Hill and broadens the perception and influence of the library and restaurant to all park visitors. An extension of the proposed retail and leisure realm under Odenplan offers a covered, uninterrupted access point to the library from Odenplan station.
The main stairway is important both organisationally and architecturally, extending from a busy urban square to a secluded, elevated hilltop park and taking in the new library en route. This wide stair continues to each level of the library and complements all other vertical and horizontal circulation within the building, providing a sense of orientation and direction both internally and to the wider locality.
The retained annex buildings blur boundaries between outside and inside, informing the scale of the foyer spaces and the perforate nature of the internal environment. The building takes advantage of its location by allowing reading outside but within the confines of the library, both on terraces and within open courtyards. A number of voids and lightwells vary lighting levels and outlook to each floor.