The new library for the Faculty of Philology occupies a site created by uniting six of the University’s courtyards. Its four floors are contained within a naturally ventilated, bubble-like enclosure, which is clad in aluminium and glazed panels and supported on steel frames with a radial geometry. An inner membrane of translucent glass fibre filters the daylight and creates an atmosphere of concentration, while scattered transparent openings allow momentary views of the sky and glimpses of sunlight. The bookstacks are located at the centre of each floor, with reading desks arranged around the perimeter. The serpentine profile of the floors creates an edge pattern in which each floor swells or recedes with respect to the one above or below it, generating a sequence of generous, light-filled spaces in which to work. Amusingly, the library’s cranial form has already earned it a nickname of its own – ‘The Berlin Brain’.

Facts + Figures

  • Appointment: 1997
  • Completion: 2005