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The Culture Island, Denmark

The culture island
Photo: Adam Mørk

Name of the Library:The Culture Island
Parent Organisation: Middelfart Municipality, Denmark
Street Address:Havnegade 6-10
Postal Address:DK-5500 Middelfart, Denmark
Telephone :+45 8888 5210
Library Email:

Type of Library Multipurpose building, Small Community Library
Population served:38,000
Project Type: New Building
Size (square metres):3,000 sq metres (Library)
Date of Completion:2005
Architect:schmidt hammer lassen architects

Photo: Adam Mørk
Photo: Adam Mørk


Culture Island 3
Photo: Adam Mørk

The highly sculptural quality of the new Culture Island energises the newly created peninsula extending from Middelfart’s waterfront. The Culture Island is a multi-building accommodating a whole range of the town’s culture facilities under one roof, including a large new library, a cinema, a panorama restaurant, a café, a tourist information office and the town’s new assembly hall.

The Culture Island is situated on an artificial peninsula in the narrow channel between Jutland and the island of Funen. The peninsula is floating above the water on piles deep in the sea bed, and it is surrounded by an exclusive marina. Standing on the harbour seafront of Middelfart it is easy to understand why the town is known as the Town of Bridges. From the Culture Island there is an impressive view of the two bridges that link Jutland with the island of Funen. The view to the west is of a fine bridge built in 1935 that brings railway traffic over the Little Belt, and to the north can be seen an elegant suspension bridge from 1970 over which motorway traffic crosses between the island and the mainland.

Four large glass panels afford views from the cultural centre over the water, and also admit generous levels of daylight into the interior. These glass panels act as large eyes that look out to all four corners of the world. In the evening, these windows glow and fields of light are reflected in the water. The rest of the façade consists of large surfaces covered with zinc, interrupted by small, vertical slits that project beams of light into the building. The zinc casing gives the building a lightweight look and creates an elegant interplay between the sky and the water.

The Culture Island of Middelfart is created from its surroundings. It is a spectacular architectural sculpture inspired by the sea and by the two distinctive bridges that span the Little Belt on each side of the Culture Island. The trapeze-shaped glass panels and curved surfaces suggest associations with ships and sails. With its dynamic sweeping façades, the Culture Island of Middelfart is a finely honed exercise in dramatic architectural form, further enhanced by the continuously changing light characteristic of the area.

Dokk1, Aarhus, Denmark

Dokk1 2
Photo: Adam Mørk

Name of the Library:Dokk1
Parent Organisation: Aarhus Municipality
Street Address:Hack Kampmanns Plads 2
Postal Address: 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Telephone :+ 45 89 40 92 00
Web Address:

Type of Library : Central/ Main  Library
Population served: Scandinavia’s  largest public library
Project Type: New Building
Size (square metres):35,600
Date of Completion: 2015
Architect: schmidt hammer lassen architects

Photo: Adam Mørk
Photo: Adam Mørk

Dokk1 opened its doors to the public on Saturday, 20 June, becoming the largest public library in the Nordic countries, representing a new generation of modern, hybrid libraries. The 30,000 square metre building is part of the Urban Mediaspace project, which is transforming the harbour front of Aarhus. The project houses the new library, a citizen service centre, automatic parking for 1,000 cars and new harbour-side public squares. With a budget of over € 280 million, it is the largest construction project by the Municipality of Aarhus in the city’s history.

In 2009, schmidt hammer lassen architects won the competition to design the new Urban Mediaspace project as lead architect in collaboration with Kristine Jensens Landscaping and engineering company Alectia.

The large polygonal building is located at the mouth of the Aarhus River, connecting the city with the port and water. Flanked by forests to the north and south, a recreational belt has been created through which a new light railway will run with a dedicated station at Dokk1. Road traffic will be redirected, so that it has direct access to the large under-ground car park beneath the building. New cycle paths run through the scheme that includes over 450 bicycle parking spaces. Dokk1 will become a new hub and metaphorically the “hinge” that opens up to new experiences in Aarhus city.

A covered urban space
The principal idea behind Dokk1 is a transparent covered urban space. Kim Holst Jensen, Senior Partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects, explains: “Dokk1 is not simply a building. It is a place for exchanging knowledge and opportunities and a multicultural meeting point that will change people’s perception of the entire city. Dokk1 enhances this special setting with an architecture that creates an exceptional visual connection to the city – both from inside the building and out. Through this, we form an icon for the knowledge society, an icon that supports and stimulates creative collaboration.”

Dokk1 is designed as a polygonal slice that hovers above a glazed building resting on a podium with large sculptural stairs. The stairs fan out to street level and the new harbour promenade surrounding the building. The glass building is designed as an open urban space with 360-degree views of the water, harbour, forest and city. The building has no clear front or back, which is emphasised by the multi-edged top slice that creates the impression of rotation and movement. The facade is made of expanded metal, the scale of the city and harbour is reflected in the design, which twists, breaks and turns. The concept of the façade design is an interaction with the height of the surrounding buildings and the scale of the port with reference to large elements, such as cranes and ships.

Photo: Adam Mørk
Photo: Adam Mørk

Democratic, open and diverse
The polygonal top floor contains the municipal administration offices along with rental offices. The two open levels of the library are connected by the media ramp, which consists of five platforms, each dedicated to an activity: exhibitions, gaming, interactive workshops, reading and events. Combined with the literature and media sections, the media ramp offers a meandering path of activity through the building leading up to the children’s area on the top floor.

“Inside, the open layout creates visual connections between the various functions, and invites the visitor to be inspired by the vast amount of information that inevitably meets them. Openness encourages social interaction and the exchange of information. Dokk1 will become a vibrant space for people of all generations, interests and cultures. Our concept, with interweaving activities and functions, supports this synergy,” concludes Kim Holst Jensen, Senior Partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects.

The development of Dokk1 has in many ways influenced how schmidt hammer lassen designs libraries around the world. One example is in the handling of the public consultation, from which we have learnt large amounts. For Dokk1, this process directly influenced the size of the multi-hall and the design of information in the reception area.


Central and University Library Lucerne, Switzerland


Name of the Library: Zentral- und Hochschulbibliothek Luzern (Central and University Library Lucerne)
Parent Organisation: Kanton Luzern
Street Address: Sempacherstrasse 10
Postal Address: 6002 Luzern
Telephone : 41 228 53 12
Web Address:
Library Email:

Type of Library :Central/ Main Library
Population served: Students and teachers (Higher school, College, College of education, University), General public
Project Type: New Building, Refurbishment
Size (square metres): Three locations (incl. more than 10’000 qm)
Date of Completion: Main house, Sempacherstrasse: 1951. Location at the Universitybuilding: 2011. Lucerne Central and University Library at the Library of the Lucerne Business School : 2012
Architect: Main house, Sempacherstrasse: Otto Dreyer

ZHB Wirtschaft Luzern, den 15.06.2012 Foto: Priska Ketterer Luzern
ZHB Wirtschaft
Luzern, den 15.06.2012
Foto: Priska Ketterer Luzern

The Central and University Library, Lucerne (ZHB): One library – three locations.

The largest library in central Switzerland has been collecting and disseminating information since 1951, for research and teaching, study and work, and leisure and entertainment.

Today, the ZHB meets the diverse needs of its users at three different locations, each with its own distinct profile. All three branches are centrally located close to the main station and can be reached on foot in just a few minutes.

The public and academic library in the Sempacherstrasse (main library)
The most beautiful park in Lucerne is a centrally located oasis, and in the middle is the heritage-listed main building of the Central and University Library. Built in 1951 to plans by the Swiss architect Otto Dreyer, the building has survived the decades remarkably well, including the major developments necessary to house a modern library operation. Nevertheless, the upcoming and long-overdue renovation is keenly anticipated.

The library in the park is an ideal place for reading, learning and working, viewing exhibitions, attending events, and exchanging ideas with others. The services here are tailored particularly to the needs of the general public. There is a wide range of fiction and non-fiction materials available, including books, newspapers, magazines, pictures, sound recordings, audio books and electronic media. The valuable historical collections include manuscripts and rare books, musical works and an extensive photo archive.

Resources and facilities: In addition to about 1.3 million items available from the closed stacks, there are approximately 20,000 volumes in open access, to browse on the shelves. There are also reading rooms, group and individual workspaces, a modern infrastructure, a lounge for reading newspapers and magazines, and an exhibition and event area.

ZHB UNI Luzern, den 06.12.2011 Foto: Priska Ketterer Luzern
Luzern, den 06.12.2011
Foto: Priska Ketterer Luzern

The major academic library for students, lecturers and the interested public in the Uni / PH building (UPG)
The other major branch of ZHB in the Uni / PH Building is also ideally located, right next to the station and just two minutes from the lake. Those who get a window seat can enjoy the stunning views from the 5,500 square meter library. All other users of the library, opened in 2011, benefit from one of the remaining 700 workplaces.
The highly valued and frequently used library focuses on the needs of students and staff of the University itself and the University of Teacher Education (PH). About 300,000 volumes of the most recent literature can be found on the shelves of the extensive open access area, above all relating to the subjects taught at the two institutions.  These include, in particular, academic journals, reference books, source collections, introduction and background material, as well as research literature.

Resources and facilities: In addition to about 1.3 million items also available here from the closed stacks, there are approximately 300,000 volumes in open access. There are also various reading rooms, 700 group and individual workspaces, a modern infrastructure, and a large, generously proportioned lounge.

The specialized library of the Lucerne School of Business
In the ensemble of ZHB libraries, this library plays a key role for students and staff of the Lucerne School of Business. The ZHB provides library services for the School under contract, and offers here, as at each location, attractive workspaces and modern infrastructure, the most current literature, as well as expert, service-oriented advice and assistance.

Resources and facilities: In addition to about 1.3 million items available here as elsewhere from the closed stacks, there are approximately 15,000 volumes, including around 90 academic journals,  with introduction and background material in the areas of economics, business and management,  the main teaching focus of the School. There are also 90 workspaces in various configurations for individuals and groups, as well as a modern infrastructure.

Awards, case studies, further information
The largest part oft the ZHB collection is preserved in a closed magazine. 2016 this collection will remove to an inter-cantonal storage. The modular extendable storage is located near Lucerne. It will retain the collections of several large libraries of five swissgerman cantons. The magazine is first planned for three million volumes. When needed the capacity can be expanded to 18 million volumes.


Specialized Library Unipark , Salzburg, Austria


Andrew Phelps2011_5845Name of the Library:  Specialized Library Unipark
Parent Organisation: University Library of Salzburg
Street Address: Erzabt-Klotz-Str. 1
Postal Address: 5020 Salzburg
Telephone: 43662/8044/4927
Web Address:
Library Email :

Type of Library :Special Library
Population served: Unipark library is a specialized university library for approx. 5.500 students, but it is open to and used by the whole university (students as well as staff) as well as the general public
Project Type: New Building
Size (square metres):  4.000 m²
Date of Completion: 2011
Architect: Storch, Ehlers&Partner
Hubert Auer_EDE8364
The University Library of Salzburg is made up of several locations including the newly built and especially attractive Specialized Library Unipark. Its inventory comprises around 400.000 media on Romance Language and Literature, English and American Studies, Slavonic Studies, German Language and Literature, Linguistics, Educational Science, Art History, Music and Dance Studies.

The library consists of three different levels and is fully air-conditioned. The floor is made of black linoleum, interrupted by red carpets demarcating the work areas. The architects’ color concept of black, white and red dominates the interior design down to the smallest detail, for example the labeling of the book shelves. The library’s wide reading staircase and generous lounge area are used as event location and are the highlight of the library. Please see the attached pictures to give you a full impression of the library’s special charm.

Luigi Caputo_DSC8973

Apart from the architectural beauty of our library, the location of the library building is also noteworthy. Set right in the center of Salzburg’s picturesque Nonnberg district, breathtaking Alpine views and beautiful touristic sights surround the library. To mention but one: Unipark Library is in direct vicinity to Nonnberg Abbey, where parts of the famous _Sound of Music_ blockbuster film starring Julie Andrews were shot.

Unipark Library is also noteworthy for its innovative reading events: Especially popular books are presented and read from on a regular basis, usually by the authors themselves. These readings are widely appreciated by members of our University and the interested public.


Cairns City Library, Queensland, Australia

Cairns City Library
Cairns City Library

Name of the Library: Cairns City Library
Parent Organisation: Cairns Regional Council
Street Address: 151 Abbott Street Cairns QLD 4870
Postal Address:PO Box 359 Cairns QLD 4870
Telephone :61 07 4044 3720
Web Address:
Library Email:

Type of Library : Central/ Main Library
Population served: 157,102
Project Type: Refurbishment
Size (square metres): 2010
Date of Completion: 1999
Architect: Power Graham & Dempsey Pty Ltd, Stephenson & Turner International

Cairns City Library2

The Cairns City Library and surrounding tropical gardens have been recognised for their historic importance by the Cairns Regional Council, the Australian Heritage Commission, and the Queensland Heritage Council.

The Cairns City Library building was originally built as a council chamber and officially opened on the 11 August 1930. This 1930s building was designed by Hill and Taylor architects, whose work blended elements of classic Greek and colonial Queensland architecture. Extensive alterations were made during the 1960s and again in the 1970s.

In the late 1990s the building was re-designed and modified by architects Power Graham & Dempsey, and Stephenson & Turner International, with every effort made to retain the ambience of the 1930s chamber. It reopened as the new City Library in 1999.
The historic central chamber with its distinctive cedar timber panelling has been retained as the Information and Reference Room. The original high plaster ceilings, paired cedar doors and lead-light windows have been restored. Also of historic and architectural interest are the original strong room door, the Lake Street portico, and the Ionic columns.

Cairns City Library1

The large Moreton Bay fig trees, planted in 1907, remain as a feature of the gardens which were redesigned in 1999 by landscape architects Siteplan Cairns. Another special feature of the gardens is the Literary Trail, a display of public artworks completed in 1999 by local artists, inspired by the literary works of authors who have resided in the Cairns Region.

As part of the Cairns Libraries network, the Cairns City Library’s many programs and services include:

  •  Extensive children’s activities such as Baby Rhyme Time, storytime, and school holiday activities
  •  LearnIT @ your library information technology classes
  •  Literary events and workshops
  •  City heritage walks
  •  Family history workshops and drop-in sessions
  •  Professional reference and information services
  •  An extensive regional resource collection and family history collection
  •  Display areas including a permanent Cairns Regional Council Sister Cities display
  •  Free Wi-Fi
  •  Meeting Rooms for hire

Inclusion on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1998

Hakunila Library, Vantaa, Finland

3Children section_Teppo Lahti

Name of the Library: Hakunila Library
Parent Organisation: Vantaa City Library
Street Address: Kimokuja 5
Postal Address:  FI-01200 VANTAA FINLAND
Telephone :358983930805
Web Address:
Library Email:

Type of Library :Medium size town library
Population served: ca. 29 000
Project Type: Refurbishment
Size (square metres): ca. 600
Date of Completion: 30.8.2013
Architect: Interior Designer Minna Haapakoski
1Book displays before and after_Marko Nissinen

Hakunila Library was refurbished in 9 months during 2012-2013.

The opening day was Aug. 30th, 2013. Library patrons were included in this project. At first they were given an opportunity to evaluate the library through a customer survey. Based on their answers, we created three workshops to get a better insight into what is important for a modern library patron as regards space and collections. Interior designer Ms. Minna Haapakoski, who is specialized in re-using materials in interior designs, made a plan using the knowledge we gathered from the workshops. Also, the collection was evaluated and re-arranged in theme areas to make it easier for patrons to find what they need.

Most of the old bookshelves were re-used. They were painted, lowered and now there are wheels under them. Now it is also easier to modify the space if needed for performances, etc. The space is now more colorful and open.

The refurbishment was made with help and cooperation with local enterprises. For example, a local paint factory donated us the needed amount of paint for the furniture.

Besides basic library functions, our patrons want us to be a local cultural center. When possible, we organize musical performances and literature events. For example, in spring 2014 there was a library dance event. We pushed shelves aside and people were invited to dance to old Finnish dance music. We have two reading groups, one of them has been active for seven years and the other one, concentrating on thrillers and detective stories, started at the beginning of 2015. People can also watch movies on our premises and there is a space for art exhibitions.

For children we have clubs in cooperation with local organizations and we have volunteers who come twice a week just to keep the children company, when needed.
Awards, case studies, further information
We attended a satellite conference and the IFLA conference in Singapore in 2013 with two presentations.

Click to access 086-ervasti-en.pdf



Seoul National University Library, Kwanjeong, South Korea




Reading Room
Reading Room

Name of the Library: Seoul National University Library Kwanjeong
Parent Organisation: Seoul National University
Street Address: Gwanak-ro 1  Gwanak-gu  Seoul, Korea
Postal Address: 151-749
Telephone : 82-2-880-1160
Web Address:
Library Email:

Type of Library : University Library
Population served: 29,426 students and 2,076 faculties(as of March 2015)
Project Type:  New Building
Size (square metres): 27,243㎡
Date of Completion: 5 Feb 2015
Architect: Tae Yong, Yoo (Teh Je Architects, Inc.)

Exterior View
Exterior View

Seoul National University Library : Main building and Kwanjeong
Seoul National University Library holds the largest collection of books among university libraries in Korea. Located at the center of Seoul National University campus, the Library is consisted of two buildings: the main building and a newly-built library, Kwanjeong. The main building provides resource-oriented service, while Kwanjeong houses high-tech, user-friendly facilities. The two buildings together create the optimal environment for the Library users.

Features of Library Kwanjeong

Space Without Pillars
For the first time in Korea, a steel truss lifting & sliding technique was used to build Kwanjeong, allowing the space to be created without pillars (from 6F-8F, 112.5M×30M). The Reading Rooms take full advantage of the open space structure.

Outer Wall : Representing Generations of Light and Colour (see phoo above description)
Outer walls of Kwanjeong represent the present and future of Seoul National University. Simple triangular patterns and lines that are repeated and overlapped on the walls’ surfaces portray the rich imagery of continuously changing light and color through the passage of time.

Nature-friendly Rooftop Garden
Located on the top of the six story main building, the Rooftop Garden overlooks a fantastic view. Amounting up to 7,273 square meters, the Rooftop Garden is fully utilized to serve as a resting place. The Garden is a nature-friendly place reserved for SNU students and faculty.


Cohabitation of ‘Old’ and ‘New’
Mainly, the intersection allows for the movement between two buildings. This intersection, however, bears extra significance as it is where the old and the new of the SNU Library cohabitate. The design of the intersection connects the main building’s outer walls directly with the interior of Kwanjeong. It also allows easier management and access between the two buildings.

Multimedia Plaza
DVDs are available for viewing in the Multimedia Plaza. The Multimedia Plaza is home to 17,864 DVDs, including the most popular DVDs among Seoul National University students, 3D and blue-ray movies. It has a seating capacity of 92 people, with chairs ranging from single seat to four seats.

Friends of the SNU Library
‘Friends of the SNU Library’ is a fund-raising campaign launched in March 2012 to secure funds for the construction of the Kwanjeong. A total of 840 SNU alums, faculties and staff, students, and the public have participated in raising 70.7 billion won. The interior space and the furniture of the Group Study Room, Carrels, Reading Room chairs and desks have been purchased with the generous donation to the ‘Friends of the SNU Library’, and we sign the names of the donors on the plaque for the donated space and furniture.