The Royal Library Extension: An Example of Significant Architectural Landmark on Copenhagen Waterfront

In 1999, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects finished building an extension for The Royal Library. Located in the historic heart of Copenhagen, Denmark, the extension is seen as a radical shift from traditional library structure. The extension is also often used to house varying cultural facilities.

The Extension

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With the extension design, the firm intended to create an informal meeting place for citizens in Copenhagen, tourists, students, and restaurant guests. This extension is considered as one of the most significant architectural landmarks on the Copenhagen waterfront.

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The building is open and democratic consisting of an exhibition room, bookshop, restaurant, a café, scientific and literary institutions, a roof terrace, and a hall with 600 seats to house conferences, theatrical performances, and concerts. The extension also provides 6 reading rooms with 486 seats. From the outside, you can see the solid black cube which is divided into two parts by a vat glazed atrium.  Mostly, public functions are held in the atrium.

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Moreover, the Royal Library is a prominent and accessible public building, seen as a focal point and icon for Copenhagen.

Black Granite Facade

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The extension used black granite for the cladding.  Due to its glittering polished surfaces and clean cut lines, the building is considered as one architectural gem of Copenhagen called ‘Black Diamond’.

Offer Panoramic Views

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The building’s central space offers panoramic views overlooking the waterfront. It also acts as a source of daylight, spreading across the building.

The Transition Between Old and New

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Worked with acclaimed artist Per Kirkeby, the firm found that the link area between the existing library and the new extension is a crucial space. Hence, they came up with an artwork to enhance the sense of connection between the old and the new.

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The artwork is in a form of a large circular canvas floating above the information desk designed by Kirkeby. It looks like a painting representing the transition between the old and new.

Double the Size

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Thanks to the extension, the Royal Library looks two times larger. Now, it has open shelves to store over 200,000 books as opposed to the previous capacity of 45,000. The extension has doubled the library’s overall size – the open shelves can accommodate more than 200,000 books compared to the previous capacity of 45,000.

Via SHL

Alana Groom

“An idea is salvation by imagination.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
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