Black Diamond Copenhagen, Architect, Building, Photos, Designer, Architecture
Sort Diamant, Copenhagen, Denmark : Information
The Royal Library / Det Kongelige Bibliotek, København, Danmark
17 Sep 2009
Royal Library Copenhagen
Royal Library - Extension / Sort Diamant København
Address: Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1
Design: Schmidt, Hammer and Lassen, Architects
10-year anniversary of extension to the Royal Library in Copenhagen
The Royal Library was ahead of its time and the first in Denmark to introduce groundbreaking values to a previously dusty institution.
photos : Ralph Richter
First multifunctional library in Denmark turns 10
A remarkable and innovative building of its time, the extension to the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen celebrates its 10-year anniversary this week.
When the Royal Library in Copenhagen opened to the public 10 years ago, there was general concern in society that libraries might become redundant in the future. But contrary to this, the role and influence of libraries are positioned to increase as our civic and 'free' space diminishes Libraries are needed as much as ever in the 21st century as hubs for information, research, learning, communication and culture.
A timeless cultural landmark, schmidt hammer lassen architects' sharp monolith in black marble with its tilting angles on the port of Copenhagen is attracting many tourists and citizens for its architecture.
However, the library is also hailed for the new values it set out to introduce: The library as an open, democratic institution embracing not only the study of books but opening up to many other media and cultural activities. The Royal Library was ahead of its time and the first in Denmark to introduce such groundbreaking values to a previously dusty institution.
Many cities around the world are erecting impressive new libraries all adding ever more functions to the institution and not even calling it a library anymore. The digitalization of media will have an even more profound impact on the libraries in the future while still leaving room for the traditional book.
In collaboration with the pioneering public library in Aarhus on the mainland of Denmark, schmidt hammer lassen architects are now developing just such a library for the future called Urban Mediaspace. The company won the international competition for the 30.000 m2 library earlier this year.
The architecture of the building with its open levels and visual contact to the outside world will embrace all new media, experiment with new formats and new ways of learning, networking and socializing. At the same time its function as a 24/7 pivot of the city's cultural life is secured through informal meeting places and venues for cultural events.
photo : Joachim Ladefoged
The range of the practice library work extends from The Royal Library in Copenhagen, to the above mentioned Urban Mediaspace, to the design of public community libraries in Sweden, Denmark and the UK.
This diversity has developed the practice's understanding of the issues pertinent to contemporary library and learning space design; how to design for the future at a time where technology is moving so rapidly; how to mix and balance a variety of activities from studying to socialising to storing books; how to design sustainably, in the widest possible sense.
The creation of the Royal Library paved the way for Schmidt hammer lassen architects to become experts on libraries.
"We are drawn to these projects for their potential to engage the public and not only to give cultural and social life to their cities and towns but also for their ability to work as a accelerator for learning and knowledge," reflects Founding Partner Bjarne Hammer, 10 years after the practice first library was inaugurated.
photos © Adrian Welch
Royal Danish Library Extension - Building Information
Address: Søren Kierkegaards Plads/Copenhagen
Area: New 21,000 m2. Refurbishment 7,000 m2
Construction Sum: € 49 million / £ 39 million
Construction period: 1995-99
Award: 1st prize
Competition year: 1993
Competition type: Open international
Client: Danish Ministry of Culture
Architect: schmidt hammer lassen architects
Landscape architect: schmidt hammer lassen architects
Engineer: Moe & Brødsgaard Consulting Engineers
Acoustics: Anders Gade
Copenhagen Municipality's Architecture
Nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2000
Nykredit Architecture Prize 2001
Du Pont Benedictus Award 2003
Called the Black Diamond - Sort Diamant - it contains a library, concert hall, bookshop, café, exhibition space and restaurant Søren K. Central to the building is a large atrium that cuts from one side to the other.
photo © Adrian Welch
It is a bold building in this historic part of Copenhagen - due to its size and angular design - but also its dark, mostly impervious skin increases its impact.
Sort Diamant København arkitekt : Schmidt, Hammer and Lassen
Copenhagen Walking Tours
Another Danish design by schmidt hammer lassens:
Urban Mediaspace Aarhus, Jylland
image from architect
Aarhus Library - largest public library in Scandinavia
Building opposite the Sort Diamant:
Henning Larsen, Architect
photo © Adrian Welch
Opposite the Sort Diamant - Copenhagen Royal Library Extension
Schmidt Hammer & Lassen Architects
Black Diamond Copenhagen Building Photos © adrian welch unless otherwise stated
Copenhagen Building News - Selection
Copenhagen Harbour Gateway : Steven Holl Architects
image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Copenhagen Zoo Elephant House : Foster + Partners
image : Foster + Partners
Library Buildings by Schmidt, Hammer and Lassen
Aberdeen University Library
Comments / photos for the Sort Diamant Copenhagen page welcome:
Black Diamond Copenhagen - page : adrian welch / isabelle lomholt
Royal Library Copenhagen - Website: www.kb.dk