Berlin . 2013

Central and Regional Library Berlin

Culture and education

ZLB – Central and Regional Library Berlin
ZLB – Central and Regional Library Berlin

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A universally-accessible library as a metropolitan library, open to everyone and free of any iconographic symbolism. This is a place where knowledge is preserved and knowledge transfer takes place, a place with a relaxed, communicative atmosphere, but at the same time, a place where the highest level of concentration can be attained. The new library, a combination of slightly-slanted, horizontally-layered cuboids, absorbs the scale of the Tempelhofer Feld and funnels it into the adjacent urban landscape. The two runways, which appear to be parallel, are offset by 2.03°. This slight difference is accounted for by the placement and bends in the library building. The significance of the location is not only highlighted by the eight-storey new library building, but also by two skyscrapers located to the west of the library; these clear the circulation area to the west and serve as a representative entree.


The circulation area west of the library has been designed as a "shared space" through which the north-south local traffic is routed. This area is primarily frequented by pedestrians, and the outdoor space is transmuted virtually without a threshold into the ground floor zone. The library is conceptualized in stacked volumes representing alternating areas: the "closed" volumes, the areas where knowledge is stored, which includes the repository and administration areas, and the "open" volumes with the open-access areas, activity areas and food courts. The four "closed" and four "open" floors are clearly differentiated. Upon entering the building, a large open space opens up with a ceiling height of 40 m. In the interior, the levels are spatially interconnected by three large-scale atriums, and escalators wind down through the middle atrium to create an additional connection. The building, with its homogeneous envelope of white, powder-coated, expanded metal, is accented by its closed volumes and open decks, which are entirely free of columns. Four of the eight upper floors are load-transferring floors. The vertical load transfer occurs via reinforced concrete slabs, which are supported by room-high steel frames that transfer the loads over the core of the building into the subsoil.   Each steel framework supports the ceiling above as well as the one below the load-bearing floor. The open floors (lacking support by columns) for public use can be alternately arranged with the load floors. The fact that the ground floor and open-access areas are free of support columns means that they can be used for multiple purposes.

Facts and Figures

Project Location

Berlin, Germany


Competition _ 2013

Data on construction

Net floor area _ 50.800 m²


Land Berlin

Landscape architecture

Gesswein Landschaftsarchitekten, Ostfildern