It took 12 years before the new Stuttgart Library saw the light of day.
‘It wasn’t a problem,’ says architect Eun Young Yi. ‘We used the time to plan a great building.’ Located in the city’s European Quarter, the austere concrete-and-glass volume presents an exterior that does little to convey the brightness within.
Visitors arriving at the heart of the nine-storey building – a large, square entrance hall illuminated by a central skylight – can access the library’s various galleries, on levels five through nine, via stairs or lifts.
‘The building spatially unpeels towards the centre like an onion,’ Young Yi says. ‘The inner core houses a negative monolith – a perfectly geometric white room.’ He has kept the library display area deliberately neutral, giving the books pride of place.
The circulation route spirals around a glass-roofed atrium that during the day is filled with natural light. Reading rooms hidden in pockets surrounding the main hall of the library provide visitors with quiet retreats.