Architecture firms DEGELO ARCHITEKTEN and Itten+Brechbühl teamed up to create the winning design for the architecture competition tendered in 2006.

Future first

Heinrich Degelo’s design represents a new, pioneering architectural form that is heavily influenced by the context of town planning. The new, semi-transparent façade creates a strong symbiosis between the building and its surroundings as they meld into one.

Energy efficient

The concept is also energy efficient: The floor space is the same size as the previous building, but the surface area is almost a third smaller. The solar control glass used in the building’s compact outer shell is triple glazed and the interior temperature is kept constant using well water and heat recovery. According to our estimations, the new University Library building will consume as much as 65% less energy than the previous building. The photovoltaic system on the roof supplies electricity to the building. At 2,000 m² in size, it is the largest solar power system in the city centre.

Inside and out

Visitors can enter the spacious foyer – home to the central information desk and cloakroom lockers – via two large revolving doors. Café Libresso with its quiet and loud zones is an integral part of the library building’s design. In summer, outdoor seating is placed on the terrace facing Theater Freiburg. There are more than 1,750 modern user workstations in the vicinity of the transparent façades, which boast stunning views of the Old Town and the Black Forest. Staircases and atria line the northern façade of the building, from the ground floor right up to the fifth floor, guaranteeing breathtaking views of the nearby Theater Freiburg and the Platz der Alten Synagoge square.

The parlatory: the perfect place to communicate

There is a clear distinction between the rooms designed for discussion and places of concentration in the library. The southern part of the first four floors, which face the Black Forest, the Vosges and Freiburg’s Old Town, feature reading rooms with 1,250 separate workstations and a collection of 230,000 printed works. The northern part overlooking the Platz der Alten Synagoge square is home to the parlatory with space for 500 library users to work in groups, an exhibition space and a function room, seminar rooms and the café. There are a further 700,000 books held in the circulation area on floor -1.

Innovation wherever you go

The old car park has been transformed into racks for 400 bicycles. The underground closed stacks on floors -2 and -3 can hold an additional 3.5 million works or even more. The new media centre in the University Library is another highlight. Located on the third floor, it occupies a space covering roughly 800 m² with two radio studios and a television studio, to name just some of the facilities. Most of the University Library staff work on the fifth floor in an open office space. This promotes exchange, but without sacrificing concentration on work or the ability to hold confidential discussions.

University of Freiburg