The Asplund’s Library extension, Stockolm, Sweden – Caruso e Torricella Architetti

The New Asplund’s Library Extesion, Stockholm, Sweden

Program: The architectural design of an addition for the Asplund’s Library
Size: 29,000 sqm
Status: competition; completed in 2006

Realizing that the Asplund Library is itself a “solitarium,”, the idea of creating another “solitarium” was rejected. Instead, the “annex” logic that Asplund himself had adopted for the ancillary buildings was adopted for the design of the new addition. The new buildings were conceived as a series of interconnected annexes designed to fit in between the old masonry annexes. These buildings deeply resent the presence of the Observatorium Hill–an incredible and almost metaphysical abnormality in the regular, orthogonal system of the Vasastan’s grid—lifting up, bowing and adapting their floor, to the natural slope, as in a Greek theatre.
The library of the future: One question kept coming up during all the design process: what would future libraries be like? We must admit that we had only a very vague idea of what the evolution of libraries will be as a result of new information technologies. It is clear that people will increasingly rely on the Internet to access books, printing them at home. The publishing industry will probably experience what has already happened to the music industry: largely reduced sales and the return of live concerts. In such a case, the library could become the forum in which to meet the authors (or theirs critics) in lectures. Thus, libraries should therefore house not only all available technologies but also to provide a space for the direct, physical presence of authors and critics and their oral presentations, who in a sense, will become performers–a real mix of high tech and oral tradition.
Through this line of reasoning we arrived at the conclusion that flexible use was a top priority for the new library. This requirement was translated as continuous of spaces and the absence of borders to accommodate the free flow of new visions and the addition of new functions.