Halmstad Library, Sweden

Halmstad Library is set in a parkland space on the River Nissan, overlooking Halmstad’s historical core. With a circular atrium set around a large existing chestnut tree – its fulcrum – and the long concave façade with double-height glazing ‘distended’ between two white horizontal ‘floating’ plates, nature, the seasons and the city all become part of the library. Inside, the library is essentially a single open space, flexible and highly legible: an open structure which allows an active interplay between the columns and the trunks of the trees outside.

The atrium is the focal point that creates instant overview and connects the library’s three floors vertically. Surrounding the atrium is the information plaza: an active zone containing reception, computer terminals, exhibitions, a café and a stairway to the balcony floor and to the stacks in the basement. Around this zone – looking out in the direction of the façade and the view – the various sections unfurl, breathing their own tranquil atmosphere, affording users the space to ponder or be drawn in. The library is constructed of few and simple materials: concrete, glass and Nordic larch flooring.