Berlin, Germany 1988



PROGRAM: Renovation and addition to American Memorial Library
CLIENT: Berlin Senate
    SIZE: 100,000 sq ft
STATUS: competition

The design for this library extends the philosophical position of the open stack - the unobstructed meeting of the reader and the book - by organizing the books around a browsing circuit. The circuit is a public path looping the building, presenting the collection of the entire library. The library stacks are developed as furniture, giving different characteristics to areas of the open plan. The concept of a browsing circuit is given memorable variety by these different stack arrangements.

The importance of the site within the city plan is expressed by making the library a major urban element, analogous to a city gate. The north face of the library addition defines the south edge of the new Blucherplatz. Additional buildings to the east and west, containing public programs, complete the definition of space. A clearly defined public park to the east and west strengthens the connection to the Holy Cross Church. The tower offers a public observation point - a lens focused on the city - and supports the children's library.




  • architect
    • – Steven Holl Architects
    • Steven Holl ( design architect )
    • Bryan Bell, Stephen Cassell, Pier Luigi Copat, Thomas Gardner, Friederike Grosspietsch (project team)
  • associate architects
    • – Stephan Schroth Architects