15 October, 2009

Stockholm ran out of money...

...and the library will stay as is! 

We live a stone's throw from stadsbiblioteket, the Stockholm main city library. Its lovely. Built in the 1920s, it has a huge round orangey drum, and the books are shelved in the round. Very cool. When I am done getting paid for working in a few weeks, I am thinking of volunteering there a few hours a week, just so I don't lose my librarian skillz. 

Anyway, there was a push to update and expand the library, which led to a design competition, and the winning design would have demolished parts of the historic building. This led to a big debate in the city, and even UNESCO's cultural heritage board Icomos threw in their 2 öre to say that the building was too exceptional and the architect (Gunnar Asplund) too respected for the proposed changes. 

Sound familiar? DC went through the exact same arguments around the same time with the main Martin Luther King Jr library...famous, venerated architect (Mies van der Rohe), plagued by problems and no longer fitting users' needs. Because of all this, MLK library is now on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Apparently, the city council thought function should come before form, and they have been hard-pressed for this expansion to happen. But this week, it was reported that the venture is just too expensive, and plans have been scrapped (didn't that happen with the Corcoran's Gehry, too?) I am so happy to hear this!  My opinion is too biased to count, though, because I LOVE this building (not to mention wanting to avoid 2+ years of construction in my 'hood.) And I think the Mies van der Rohe is ugly as sin, and a terrible library, so I am all for a revamp in DC.

No comments:

Post a Comment