The city of Stockholm wanted its tree of knowledge to grow.
Out of Asplund’s great trunk, a branch is growing: a new place for learning encased in leaves of light, walled only by the landscape of the city and the ceiling of the skies, an offering, a gift to the people.
The new library complex is an urban hand, a palm sloping down to meet the three finger annexes and the original library building, initially conceived by Asplund as a symbolic “Garden of Eden”, an urban reading room constructing the biblical story of the acquisition of knowledge in the reality of the urban landscape.
Branching out of the Asplund building and marking the entry to the new library is a hovering horizontal plane, a market of ideas, an elevated public plaza connecting the old library to the new structure. No longer bounded by walls or ceilings, the three levels of books inside Asplund’s library are translated to become the façade of the new library, a skin of thin colorful glass leaves, a reflection of the hues of the city. Hidden inside the new structure and following the topography of the adjacent land is a ramp, the snake of the hill.
To encounter the books at the round library of Stockholm is to experience a revelation: one enters the temple-like building and walks up the narrow stairs to discover thousands of books filling the horizon of the eye, a circle of color, ripe fruits waiting to be picked, asking to be tasted. Once tasted, a library is born, a growing tree connecting the knowledge of the hill to the text of a building, the color of a book now the heartbeat of a city.