Kinder- und Jugendbibliothek, Stockholm
Master's thesis summer 2020

Published by the Institute of Design and Building Construction (Prof. Felix Waechter).

The International Children's and Youth Library in Stockholm, which is to be planned, is to serve as a center for international children's and youth literature with a unique collection of international book holdings from the 16th century onwards. With readings, workshop discussions, writing workshops, lectures, and exhibitions, international children's and youth literature and thus the joy of reading will be promoted. In addition, collecting and indexing is intended to support intercultural understanding through reconciliation, understanding of other ways of life and cultures. The collection is open to children for reading and browsing as well as to the professional public for scientific studies and research. The holdings include more than 600,000 children's and young adult books in 150 languages, including valuable collections of historical children's books from the 16th century onward.

The archive also contains the estate of Astrid Lindgren, the world's most widely read children's author, which was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. Archived on 130 linear meters of shelves are letters from readers of all ages, manuscripts for books, films, plays and articles, shorthand pads, newspaper clippings, photographs, theater posters, copies of books with dedications, and copies of letters she wrote herself.

The special situation between the park and the city center, embedded in the unique urban structure, requires an intensive examination of the site. A lively cultural and urban building block with various interlocking, interconnected and interlocking uses is to be developed, which meets the need for contemplation, a place for rest and slowing down away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, as well as for communication and encounter in equal measure, and whose diverse interior encourages reading. Beyond acquisition, cataloging and use, the library is to be understood as a cultural marketplace where mediation, education and research are central. Spaces or areas are to be created for the various genres and the different user groups. All day, beyond opening hours, the library should invite visitors, children and also researchers. It must be ensured that the library does not become a world of experience, where the focus is on the visitor and not on literature. From the antagonism, the polarity of the requirements, spaces with specific character and independent architectural expression are to be developed, which further think the qualities of the stock and correspond to the meaning of the topos, without falling back on the historically significant structural testimonies. In this sense we pose the question of language, of context and harmony, in relation to the city as well as to the neighborhood.

The design is typologically divided into two parts, a flat open bar, which lies directly on the shore edge of the park, and a monolithic tower. The bar thus forms the new interface of land and water, and the narrow tower becomes part of the silhouette of Djurgarden’s cultural buildings without dominating them. Together they form the new counterpart to the busy promenade of Skeppshomen. Based on the existing paths of the park, a new path axis opens up the building. It penetrates the building below the tower and ends in a long concrete walkway in the canal. This allows the building to be accessed equally from land and water. Under the long roof of the bar is the open library landscape of the children's library which opens to both the city and nature. The tower contains the archival, contemplative area of the library. Through its closed facade it has a protective function and arouses all the more an interest in its contents through its long lateral incision.

The “window to the city” focuses its view towards the Baltic Sea and the island of Skeppsholmen on the opposite side. As a solitaire, the building forms a triad with the two museums in the immediate vicinity. Due to its height, it towers above the treetops and provides an unrestricted view of the surrounding area. The facade, which faces southwest, is distinguished by its namesake window. The back of the building leans against said window, reinforcing the impression of the view.

The library is entered through a one-story section located on the north side and protruding from the building, thus meeting the main user group of children and young people at eye level. This part of the building also houses the printing workshop and the administration wing. Furthermore, the first floor houses both the café and the exhibition area, which can be used independently of a visit to the library. The building, which has a plain outer shell except for the slope of the back, is supported by the book spine, which runs through all floors and also accommodates all service functions. The area located in the south impresses with a playful, versatile juxtaposition of multi-story spatially concise reading rooms as well as low retreat areas. Each visitor finds his or her own path through the building to the reading garden on the roof.

Wood, glazed green on the outside, is the material that determines both construction and finishing.

Overlooking the Royal Castle and the boulevard Strandvägen, the Astrid Lindgren Library shapes one of Stockholm's most distinctive locations. On the straightened shore, the organically shaped building projecting into the water – consisting of a book tower, 3 large and 2 smaller cylinders, and a pavilion – creates an interlocking between landscape and sea.

The waterfront promenade runs directly towards the forecourt at the main entrance. Another arrival is made possible by a footbridge over the water that invites visitors to linger.

The basic idea of the design is to create a spatial situation that is oriented towards a scale suitable for children. The maximum 3-story main cylinders form manageable areas with which children can easily identify. All of them are atmospherically quite differently designed and have differentiated visual relationships and light conditions that vary depending on the type of orientation and roof opening. The individual parts of the building are grouped around the entrance area with a large café counter as the communicative hub. The organization deviates from conventional reference libraries: All media are stored in a computer-controlled, central book tower and can be borrowed there on each floor with a library card, so that the distances to the book are short. Everyone chooses the reading place that best suits their needs.

The library is seen as an “intellectual marketplace” that encourages a relaxed stay and offers a diverse form of knowledge transfer: The different areas in the building serve for reading, learning and playing, communication or interaction – a noisemaker street with deliberately placed islands of calm.

Located at the northwestern tip of the island of Djurgården, the red tower stands out as an identity-creating high point and forms a contrast to the green lung of Stockholm.

The tower is introduced by a surrounding structure consisting of several alternately rising pedestals. It makes the building a place for children even before they enter. The orthogonal paths lead the visitor to the building at the three highest pedestals. Here there are window bands, through which one gets the first glimpses of the colorful hustle and bustle in the root system.

In addition to the pedestals, there are 5 low courtyards that are also incorporated into the structure. The tower is entered through the east facade facing the park. The view is directly directed to the special feature of the tower: the Flying Books, an elevator similar to Pater Noster, which travels on a continuous belt (6 km/h) within a day about 5000 books through all tower floors.

The root system is divided into a passive and an active part. The passive part in the 2nd-8th basement serves as a storehouse of knowledge, it houses the historical heritage – the book collection from the 16th century onwards. The active part is located in the 1st basement, here the historical heritage will be communicated through communication and meeting. The trunk is accessed via elevators: first there are three floors of administration, followed by 13 floors for children, divided into four age ranges: Babies (0-3), Toddlers (3–7), Children (7–12) and Adolescents (12+). The areas are separated and simultaneously connected by mezzanines.

The monolithic effect of the tower is achieved both inside and out by pigmented exposed concrete, interrupted only by deliberately placed exterior vertical window bands.

In “Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard” the protagonist sets off on a journey by ship. The ship is a body that carries adventures and dreams. The library takes the traditional longship of the Vikings as a model and strands it in a peculiar way on the island of Djurgarden. Inverted, so to speak, the boat forms the roof shell under which the library's wide, open ship's belly stretches out and children can imagine a long voyage while reading. Seen from a distance, the library appears light, slender and floating, facing the vast sea. The long curve of the ridge is reflected on its surface. To make the volume of the library as small as possible, the large roof space under the hull is supplemented by a basement organized around a sunken circular square. The second floor façade overlooking the sea can be fully opened, and users can read in the sea breeze. The heart of the library is the spacious area on the upper floor, which can offer different reading areas for users.

The main structure of the building consists of a concrete core and a wooden frame. Inside, wooden frames and their cladding create a flowing, continuous space. The structure made of wood gives the reading room a distinctive identity. The middle room is wider and the daylight is soft to focus on learning. The rear room is lighter and more suitable for simple reading and resting.

Despite the numerous libraries in Stockholm, the children's author, Astrid Lindgren and her little readers still lack an appropriate place where her books are made available for children and research of her works is carried out. For this purpose, a building is to be constructed that can serve as a library and children's center at the same time. The children from Astrid Lindgren’s works are so wild and free that they do whatever they want. So are your little readers. Therefore, we want to create a place where children can discover and develop their own inner world.

The location is on the island of Djurgården. The library is located on the northwest corner of the shore, opposite the city center. With sufficient distance to the Nodiska Museum and the Vasa Museum, which are very popular with tourists. The little visitors walk with their parents first across a noisy street, then through dense trees. This calms them down before they arrive at the library.

The structure of the building can be read from the facade. The first floor, which is kept free, is accessible to everyone. This is where people who want to get to the water meet. The “tabletop”, the mezzanine floor, is designed with panoramic windows and offers a wide view. The upper structure is closed. It hides a contemplative world with a view of the sky. A ramp leads up around the center to the roof garden. At this high point, visitors catch a glimpse of the water, the greenery and the city. In this world, where all spaces face the sky, children read without the distraction of the outside world and practice expressing their inner world themselves.

Every child has an unlimited inner world where he hides his individual and intuitive thoughts. By themselves, children develop their own world, both physical and spiritual.