This project for an addition to Erik Gunnar Asplund’s Stockholm City Library provides a contemporary spatial experience, without compromising the authenticity of the original building. The new extension modifies the topography; the deformation of the existing street grid allows for a seamless integration with Asplund’s building. It therefore reinterprets the idea of the traditional figure ground relationship.
The axis of the main entrance through the original Asplund rotunda is extended and expressed as a high two-level bridge that connects old and new. This becomes the distribution route, connecting all the working elements of the library. Set at an incline, books are retrieved and returned to the stacks on conveyors that are visible from below along their full length. The fourth annex, designed by Asplund in 1928 but never built, is added as a pivotal and integrating element in the scheme where the two grids meet. The existing annexes are stripped of their cladding and remain as skeletal frames, enveloped yet visible within the fluid forms of the new building fabric. Sweeping planes burst through to the street; each twisting form is clad in a distinct material, sheets of Corten steel, re-inforced concrete, and structural glass.
The dynamic exterior forms are also expressed internally. Entering the building, the visitor experiences the gentile sinuous forms wrapping the skeletal structure. Public spaces are bathed in natural light that washes the surfaces. Scattered transparent slits allow momentary glimpses of the sky.