The growth of the city demands changes. These changes evidence the way we continuously assess our historical heritage.
By expanding and putting pressure on itself the city attempts to take advantage of both its condition and potential, which is given by nature and added to by man.
The Observatory Hill and its surroundings reflect the symbolic value of Stockholm's culture, learning, and education.
A continuous transformation began when the growth of the city reached and embraced the hill, framing and conquering it through urban development. Over time, further projects were subtly and successfully added. The most decisive of these interventions is the library by Gunnar Apslund (who already thought about its need for future amplification).
A series of new buildings were added around the hill, which in some parts gives the impression of being overwhelmed.
Presently, a new extension of the library is necessary. Its new functional and spatial requirements demand consideration of the complex existing buildings which also have achieved renown and respect.
A general appraisal shows that there is little room to manoeuvre if we want to take into account the importance of the existing complex as well as the hill with its challenging topography.
Our project resolves these difficulties by merging the library with the hill. We consider Apslund's building and its surroundings to the utmost as well as the symbolic value of the hill. We make the library an integral part of the hill, including both the bustling changes on its foot and also the higher part of the park, thereby blurring the boundaries between architecture and park (like in the Güell Park in Barcelona).
The projected structure has the purpose to accommodate the new uses and link up the different buildings. Given its versatility, the project will be dynamic and allow to accommodate and adapt easily to this challenge.
It was a question of organising a frame of connections, of relations between the different surfaces, sources of light and views, in which the library will sit peacefully.
The new buildings look to be independent while being part of a whole, like stars that shine with different intensity in a constellation.
Víctor López Cotelo