Five of the most striking university libraries you will ever see

March 26, 2014

In an increasingly digital world, libraries are surplus to requirements, right? According to the Voices for the Library campaign, more than 10 per cent of the UK’s public libraries are currently at risk of closure by their local authority, and hundreds have been shut down in the past two years alone.

For universities, however, both modern and historic libraries are at the heart of campus life. A new book, Reflections: Libraries (published this month by ROADS Publishing), has collected 44 images of the most iconic library buildings, and it includes some inspiring photographs from some of the world’s best known higher education institutions.

From the cutting edge Law Library at the University of Zurich, opened in 2004, to the Trinity College Library in Dublin, which has been used by scholars since the 16th century, the images offer a glimpse into the world of university library design, and the many different forms that they can take.

1. The Law Library at the University of Zurich

The Law Library of the University of Zurich was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the Milwaukee Art Museum in the US and the Peace Bridge in Calgary, Canada.

The library holds around 200,000 books, and opened in November 2004.

2. The Philological Library at the University of Berlin

The Philological Library at the University of Berlin

Designed by UK architect Lord Norman Foster, the University of Berlin’s Philological library is also known as “The Berlin Brain”, because from the outside, it resembles a human brain…

The Philological Library at the University of Berlin

…and it is pretty impressive from the inside too.

3. The Royal Library at the University of Copenhagen

This photograph is taken from inside the atrium of The Royal Library at the University of Copenhagen, also called “the Black Diamond” because of its black granite exterior. It is a modern extension to the old Royal Library building on the waterfront in Copenhagen.

Designed by Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen, the building opened its doors in 1999 and in addition to the library, also houses an auditorium.

4. Trinity College Library in Dublin

The library at Trinity College in Dublin is the largest in Ireland, and dates back to the establishment of the College in 1592. It has more than 6 million printed volumes.

The 65-metre “Long Room” (pictured) was built between in the 18th century, and houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books.

5. The Sir Duncan Rice Library at the University of Aberdeen

The £57 million Sir Duncan Rice Library was officially opened on 24th September 2012 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It houses the largest of the University of Aberdeen’s modern collections, including Arts, Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences, and historic collections of rare books

The library is the second building on our list designed by Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen. It spans seven floors, and is named after a former principal of the university.

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Reader's comments (2)

Libraries - the stuff of dreams....
Libraries are at risk of closure? In the case humanity is at risk of extinction! Alarming tendency … Print book is pressed by Internet resources. The button “download free” is always for “help”. Unfortunately, we all so busy now that do not have enough time just to live (but not rush) and very limited time possibilities to open e-book, imagine what to say about coming to the library… But I prefer a print book to e-one. E-book is some kind of lifeless. Only creative initiatives can heat interest and attract now people to the libraries. One example: contest “The best reading family!” One event is unlikely to change the situation, it is a drop in the ocean but still! By the way, what to read at weekends!?


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