On June 18th, Oslo’s new public library, Deichman Bjørvika, opened its doors to the public. Located on Oslo’s waterfront, and spanning six floors and 140,000 square feet, “Norway’s biggest bookshelf” (as its director Knut Skansen calls it) will contain some 450,000 books, as well as “a children’s section with playful hiding places, technology and knowledge in all forms; and on the fifth floor, a magical little room dedicated to the unique art project Future Library.” The building was designed by Atelier Oslo and Lundhagem, who won the project after an international architecture competition in 2009.
“The librarians wanted a house that would inspire visitors to explore all the new facilities and activities the modern library can offer,” Atelier Oslo writes.
This motivated us to create an open and intriguing building in which you are constantly invited around the next corner, to discover new places. With its central location in Bjørvika, the new library becomes a vibrant hub—a modern meeting place for learning and exchange of knowledge.
The site is relatively small. In order to avoid building too many floors, the building cantilevers out above its footprint: The first floor above the street to the east, and the fourth floor almost 20 meters out above the urban plaza, creating a protective covering. Three “light shafts” cut diagonally through the building from each of the entrances, giving a glimpse into different sections of the library. The light shafts connect the floors and distribute daylight downwards from three big skylights in the roof.
Originally, Deichman Bjørvika had been scheduled to open on March 28th 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the plans. Now, the library is finally open. “Finally the people of Oslo and visitors can come to us and start using the library,” Skansen said in a press release. “We are looking forward to show them this building which we are so proud of. Deichman Bjørvika will be a library for the future. I think many people will be very surprised by the building itself and what the library has to offer.” Once the pandemic has passed, the library hopes to welcome 2 million visitors a year.
I will be one of them, because it looks absurdly cool: