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LundHagem, Atelier Oslo, Oslo, library

A Reading Landscape on the Fjord: Deichman Library in Oslo

The role of libraries in our society is undergoing rapid transformation, not least because of increasing digitization. The genus of the urban living room featuring reading halls, workshop spaces, maker spaces and catering is encroaching on the old towers of books with adjacent lending counters. The latest example: the Deichman Library by Lund Hagem and Atelier Oslo, which now stands in the Norwegian capital. In 2009, the architect team won the competition to design the library, which was to encompass an enormous space on a small yet prominently situated lot directly on the fjord. The limited size of the site also led to the tall, cantilevered shape of the new building, whose upper level juts nearly 20 m as a support-free construction hung from the folded concrete roof.

On the ground floor, three equivalent entryways lead into the building, where three atria open up over the entire height of the structure and flow together on the top levels. Three polygonal cores of reinforced concrete and only a few supports bear the ceilings and roof. By arranging most of the bookshelves around these cores, the architects were able to keep the façades unobstructed. Anyone expecting large-scale openings is in for a surprise: in order to conserve resources (the new building meets passive-energy standards), only half of the façades of the upper storeys are glazed. Frosted panes on the inner side of the building shell and three skylights provide an even distribution of daylight. The façade mullions are not made of aluminium, but rather of fibreglass-reinforced plastic. However, readers must not necessarily do without views: larger windows at the corners of the building offer targeted perspectives of the city and the fjord panorama.

We feature this project in Detail 11.2021.

Further information:


Further planners: Cowi, Ramboll, Asplan Viak (Kann Energi
Contracting business shell: Skanska
Contracting business facade: Roschmann Group
Contracting business interior design: AF Byggfornyelse

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