Extension to the Stockholm Public Library


Client Name:- The Municipality and City Government of Stockholm

Location:- Near Odenplan, Central Stockholm, Sweden

Total Build-Up Area:- 60,000 sq.ft

Type of Project:- Architecture and Master-Planning

Status:- Design Competition (2006)


The competition brief was to design an extension to Erik Gunnar Asplund’s iconic Public Library in the heart of Stockholm. Three extension buildings to the library already existed on site, and the brief called for either integration of these buildings into the new scheme or their complete demolition, keeping only Asplunds’s masterpiece intact.

The two primary geometries of Asplund’s library are a square and a circle. Asplund had extruded the square into a cuboid and surmounted it with a rotunda which was an extrusion of the circle. Our design sought to evolve 2 further interpretations of the square and the circle – (a) the circle punctured the cuboid derived from the square to become a circular courtyard; (b) the circle became a tall cylindrical tower against the backdrop of the square which sunk as a podium partly into the landscape.

Another level of interpretation was where the circle was located with respect to the square. In Asplund’s design the circle sat at the centre of the square (in plan). In our first improvisation we pushed the circle to one corner of the square, in our second, one of the vertices of the square becomes the centre of the circle thereby leading to an intersection of the two geometries.

The design competition was won by Heike Hanada Architects of Germany.