Light from All Around: Gunnar Asplund’s Stockholm Library

Martin Schwartz


It’s not difficult to imagine Viljo Revell, the Finnish architect, coming up with the driving ideas behind his 1958 competition scheme for the Toronto City Hall (completed in 1965).[1]  It would have been natural for Revell to design buildings that reflected the lessons of his home region’s geography and daylight.  Revell was from Vaasa, a city on the west coast of Finland, located at 63 degrees north latitude, with a notably flat landscape where buildings are, by tradition, relatively tall.[2]   Similarly sited in a flat landscape, Revell’s Toronto City Hall is, not surprisingly, tall and designed to shield itself utterly from the kind of low angle sunlight one finds in the high Nordic latitudes of Finland.

Formally, the city hall scheme consists of two narrow office towers, each boomerang-shaped in plan and arranged to face each other, with each tower lined by a single-loaded corridor. The pair of towers forms a twice-broken ring around and above a low, dish-roofed structure at their base that serves as the city council chamber and as shelter for the complex’s lobby below.  The larger break in the tower ring faces south.  Considering the city hall’s greater aspirations, Marco Polo wrote,

For while the complex’s expression is resolutely Modern, even futuristic, the civic square respects traditions of public building in Toronto in being oriented south towards Lake Ontario, as well as in its generous aspect onto the old city hall by E.J. Lennox across Bay Street to the east”).[3]

As implied by Polo, Revell’s scheme was selected almost certainly for its iconic value—an abstracted representation of the structure is now the city’s logo.  Its impact was is linked to its height in a city which then had many fewer towers; the way the twinned towers are separate, yet connected, by the open space they create; the way the scheme secures balance through the near but differing heights of the towers; and how the center is firmly marked by the circular council chamber and lobby.  The futuristic council chamber is dish-shaped and somewhat reminiscent of a 1960’s vision of a space vehicle, but the project makes subtle concessions to context that include the broad opening on its south side.  That opening is not just to a great public square, to the lake, to the old city hall, and to downtown, but also to the midday sun.  And not only is it oriented to the sun, but in a particularly single-minded way.  It is the primary gesture to the gathering of daylight:  the office spaces are oriented to the southern sky and glazed but the outer skins of both towers are completely opaque.

Clad in concrete with thin, vertical striations of marble, the east, west, and north outer faces of the towers reject the low angle sun of morning and afternoon, as well as evenly distributed north skylight.  In contrast, the inner faces of the towers are skinned with a glass curtain wall system that accepts skylight across the day and direct midday sunlight, delivering it directly to the office spaces.  The impenetrable outer wrapper is suggestive of the response an architect might pose in the Nordic latitudes, in which the sun is typically seen low over the horizon for so much of the time that windows are almost always an invitation to direct sun, glare, and overheating, particularly in small rooms.

But Vaasa is nearly 20 degrees of latitude higher than Toronto and while the general daylighting principles applied to the city hall are relevant, mediating strategies rather than the utter acceptance (south) and rejection (east and west) of the sun might have served this project well.  For inspiration, Revell might have looked at the work of another Scandinavian, Sigurd Lewerentz, and his Social Security Administration building in Stockholm, (1928).  Like the Social Security Administration, the Toronto City Hall is essentially an atrium scheme.  The Lewerentz version, with its ellipse-plan atrium carved from a cubic mass, also concerns itself with the challenges of daylighting office spaces, but employs subtle controls.  The Social Security Building, Janne Ahlin wrote,

…was meant as a place of work, and in Lewerentz’ opinion, the light should be generally and evenly distributed.  Consequently, the windows onto the courtyard are larger than those onto the street, compensating for its more limited daylight… [4]

Lewerentz’ glazed atrium gathers light from the top of the sky, which, at this latitude, is a source of uniform skylight more than of direct sun.  The entry of direct sun into large windows in the atrium is restricted by the relatively narrow opening to the top of the sky and by the low angle of the sun. “Walls and ceilings were off-white in tone…” so as to reflect and distribute the daylight, and to mix it with evenly distributed electric lighting.[5]

Until fairly recently, people who made buildings had no choice but to accommodate local daylight and climate conditions with physical means: massive or light construction, correctly sized and placed openings, appropriate solar orientation, shading devices, and courtyards.  A scarcity of light, extreme heat, or extreme cold could not be ignored because comfort could not be generated by machines.  One would just as soon ignore the path of the sun as one would ignore gravity.   But with the introduction of mechanical and electrical means of manufacturing interior climate and illumination, architects have been able, at least temporarily, to suspend the natural cycles of light and heat.  However, it is still less easy to suspend an architectural response to the sun in places where illumination and resulting climates reach extremes.  In those regions where they are compelled to respond, architects continue to generate daylighting strategies, which often lead to the development of larger spatial and formal ideas.  Happily, these local responses turn out to be more than local idiosyncrasy, but widely relevant and provocative, even in the so-called temperate zones.  For example, Revell’s city hall, Lewerentz’s administration building, and many contemporary buildings suggest that gathering daylight at the center of a building is still a useful strategy.

The limited range of the city hall’s response to daylight, inventive but incomplete, is revealed by the more inclusive design proposals suggested by still other Scandinavian designers.  The art of capturing and managing Nordic daylight is crucial to understanding the works of Lewerentz, as we have seen, but also those of Alvar Aalto, Jorn Utzon, and Gunnar Asplund, among others.  Of these several projects, Gunnar Asplund’s Stockholm Public Library (1924-1927)[6] is particularly compelling and not least because of the simplicity of its response to the sun, but because it was designed early in the modern movement and because the architect’s knowledge of the sky and its light helped him organize the building on its site, shape space, select materials, and incorporate the character of the Scandinavian sky into the heart of the building. To a great extent, daylight generates the design.

The Ceiling as Sky

The history of architecture is well stocked with great interior spaces meant to capture daylight and to represent the sky dome; some manage to do both.  This history stretches back at least as far as the Pantheon, in Rome, onward past the groin vaults of Gothic architecture, and by means of biblically inspired heavens painted on the white vaults of Baroque churches. That Asplund had an interest in developing spatial sense with the use of daylight and with the sky in mind is well established.  Elias Cornell made the case for the creation of architectural spaces in the image of the outside world and for ceilings as skies in his essay, “The Sky as a Vault; Gunnar Asplund and the articulation of space.” [7]  More recently, Peter Blundell Jones referred to Asplund’s first, glazed-dome scheme for his library in Stockholm, as “another interpretation of the sky-ceiling.”[8]  It was this tradition that Asplund evoked as he worked on projects that preceded and followed the library.  The theater in the Skandia Cinema (1922-23),[9] much admired by his friend Alvar Aalto, was a representation of a festive public square under a night sky.[10]  The Lister County Courthouse’s circular courtroom is daylighted by a central oculus, fed by skylights in its gabled roof, above.[11]  Asplund’s extension to the Gothenburg Law Courts (Gothenburg 1934-1937) links itself to its predecessor as much by formal, physical devices as it does by sharing its sunlight to illuminate the new entry hall, “the gentle northern [Nordic] sunlight from both glass wall and south-facing roof light taking on a warm glow…”[12]  In the reading room of the Stockholm City Archive (1939, completed after Asplund’s death by Sven Ivar Lind),[13] study tables are illuminated by daylight from clerestory windows ringing a shallow, cylindrical roof monitor.

In one of his last buildings, the Woodland Crematorium (1933-1940), Asplund convenes mourners under an entry portico with a central impluvium, open to the sky.  In his first independent commission, the small and still much admired Woodland Chapel (1918-1920).  Asplund employed the character of the Scandinavian sky to establish architectural space.  At the Chapel, daylight is diffused into the main space in stages.  Sun is scattered by the sky, filtered by “spruce and pines (that) rise above the roofs to twice the height of the building,”[14] admitted by skylights in the hipped roof, received and diffused in a white-painted skylight well, and diffused by translucent oculus glazing.  When this daylight is finally introduced into the chapel, it is reflected and re-reflected by the smooth, white surface of the room’s dome.  Beneath the dome, the walls of the chapel are painted gray so that the dome and its captured light appear to float above the floor.  The overall effect is one of daylight deprived of its warmth and activity: its life.  Light and, therefore, time are slowed, even halted, in a breath-taking but entirely fitting setting for a cemetery chapel: fitting in the sense that death is a part of life, but a suspension of time, unmovable and unvarying.

However, this is not the quality of light that Asplund desired for his library.  The stilled light of the Woodland Chapel would not have been fitting for a place dedicated to the exchange of human knowledge, a living, progressive activity.  Nor would it be suitable to have people attempting to read, study, and work in a room where the light is static.  The result would be visual monotony and a stultifying fatigue on the part of readers.[15]

The Stockholm City Library

In Asplund’s first scheme for the library, he proposed a dome surmounting a nearly spherical central space located in the middle of a cubic block, but is otherwise quite similar to the final scheme.[16]  To illuminate the room, the dome was coffered, much in the manner of its great predecessor, the Pantheon, but each coffer was to be glazed.[17]  This reinterpreted dome was a matrix of large openings with glass constituting about one-third of the dome’s surface.[18]  Observers have written that the subsequent design evolution of the lending room from dome to flat-ceilinged drum was undertaken for structural, economical, and formal reasons,[19] or because of “constructional and cost considerations.”  It is likely that the dome would have been much more complex and therefore more expensive to construct than the flat roof.[20]  It is also likely, as has been observed, that the exterior of the dome would not have been visible from the city, depriving the library and city of a fully articulated monumental public presence.[21]  But Asplund, writing soon after the library was completed, specifically attributed the change in design to his desire for a certain quality of daylight.[22]

With his glazed dome, Asplund encountered a problem that he described in his own strikingly straightforward article on the library:

The lending hall was initially designed to be illuminated by skylights.  But our typical skylight assembly with secondary matt glass panes produces a dull, gray light, with no direct sun.  And as it was practically impossible to receive direct, clear light through clear windows, this approach was abandoned and instead, windows were arranged in the exterior cylinder walls.[23]

According to Asplund, with the skylight assemblies available to him, the daylight in the reading room might have been tedious or dull,[24] and perhaps too “still,” a result with which Asplund would have been familiar from his experience at the Woodland Chapel.  Even if Asplund had been able to build his dome with clear glazing, under clear skies he likely would have encountered the dilemma of too much sun.  An examination of the seasonal patterns of direct sun admitted by the dome and how they would have moved over wall and floor surfaces reveals that while sun might have been welcome in the winter months, for warmth as well as illumination, sun angles later in the year, during summer in particular, would have posed a real threat of glare, excessive solar radiation on the book collection, and possibly overheating.  This effect is exceedingly well simulated at full scale in the reading room of the Mansueto Library (by architect Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn, 2006-2011) on the campus of the University of Chicago.

The Dome and the Sun

Under the proposed dome, low, direct sun admitted on December 21 through clear glazing would have barely reached the top of the ring of surrounding bookshelves.  But on the fall and spring equinoxes (September 21 and March 21) the sun would have reached the top rank of bookshelves as early as 6:45 a.m. and the lending room floor by 9:15 a.m., later reversing to move back up the opposite bookshelves but not rising above them until about 5:15 p.m., providing about 10 hours of sun in vulnerable interior locations.

In the summer, on June 21, and under higher sun angles, the sun would have reached the top shelves by about 4:15 a.m., striking the floor by 6:30 a.m. and remaining visible on the floor until about 5:45 p.m.  The floor area receiving direct sun is substantial from about 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   The sun departs the top rank of shelves opposite its entry around 8:00 p.m.  On this day, the summer solstice, the sun would have appeared on the bookshelves or on the floor from 4:15 a.m. to about 8:00 p.m., about 16 hours.[25]

The Drum and the Sun

  • Asplund’s ensuing drum scheme, the windowed cylinder with a flat roof and ceiling, provides significantly better sun control. Its twenty windows (approximately 104 cm wide and 304 cm high[26]) are large enough to admit a significant amount of daylight, but their location in the vertical plane and elevation above the library floor generally keep the direct sun out of the range of bookshelves and patrons.
  • On December 21, when the sun appears in the sky less than six hours, the sun enters the drum at an angle nearly perpendicular to the plane of the windows at around 9:45 a.m., (The library is open Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Fridays 9:00 to 7:00 p.m., with shorter weekend hours.[27]) hovering over the drum walls above the bookshelves from 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., becoming level with the windows again around 2:30 p.m. On the fall and spring equinoxes (September 21 and March 21), the sun enters the drum at about 5:45 a.m., falling on its white walls until about 8:45 a.m. when it reaches the top rank of bookshelves; it remains on the shelves until about 3:00 p.m.
  • On June 21, the sun enters the drum by about 2:45 a.m., reaching the top rank of bookshelves by 6:00 a.m., the bottom rank of bookshelves by 7:30 a.m. and the floor by 8:15 a.m. It remains on the floor until about 4:00 p.m., at which time it reverses its course. It hovers over the drum walls, above the shelves, between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.  On this day, the summer solstice, the sun appears on the bookshelves or the floor for about 12 hours,[28] four hours less than would have occurred in the dome.  As a consequence, the area of floor and wall touched by the sun is considerably smaller.

The winter and fall/spring conditions provide the drum with greater opportunities to harvest sunlight without it striking books or patrons directly.  But the performance of the drum is not simply a function of the location of its openings, nor simply of their size; performance is also enhanced by the extent and character of its white, plaster walls.  With the dome eliminated, it became necessary for Asplund to extend the lending room cylinder well above the library cube to provide vertical clearance for windows and for those windows to be exposed to the sky.  As a result, and even with the three levels of bookshelves around the room beginning at its entry level, the room is left with an enormous amount of high wall space.  This wall, well over half the height of the room, is white plaster, and provides a significant reflecting surface for both daylight and electric light.  The white wall diffuses light around the room.  As the room is cylindrical, there are no corners to create shadow.  And, although much of the light in the room is uplighting from electrical fixtures, its combination with daylight, as seen on the drum walls, brightens the room giving the impression of an open, expansive space, and a room that functions much like the sky.  The “cylindrical centre of the library,” as Kirstin Nielsson writes, “does not seem to have a roof other than that of the sky.”[29]

Realizing Nordic Light

Knowledge of daylight conditions enables architects to fashion local daylight into a new version of itself, an architectural light specific to that place.  The key to understanding daylight in high latitudes is grasping the great seasonal variations characterized by many days of either very little or far too much sun.  It requires knowing where the sun appears and when, how to locate openings to capture that sun and skylight, and providing the means to receive it on surfaces so that the light can be seen and diffused into a space.  Openings located high in a space and light-colored wall surfaces that diffuse sun into spaces are a very effective low angle sun strategy. Bjorn Linn summarizes what Asplund and his northern colleagues have to start with:

The Nordic light comes from a lower elevation in the sky and is much softer and more variable in character.[30]

Low angle sun travels across the horizon and therefore through more atmosphere (particulate matter) than the high altitude sun of lower latitudes.  Low sun scattered by this material is therefore likely to be warmer in color, as may be seen near sunrise and sunset, at all latitudes.

Nordic daylight is depicted, impressionistically and somewhat romantically, in a number of late 19th and early 20th century paintings by Scandinavian artists seen in a 1988 exhibition called, Northern Light Nordic Art at the Turn of the Century, and documented in a catalog by curator Kirk Varnedoe.[31]  In these paintings, daylight, sun, sky, reflected skylight, shade, and shadow are intense, extraordinary, and in some cases, the subject of the paintings.  The sun in these paintings always seems to have passed by, settled below the horizon, or is in some way unreachable.  Light is typically seen by reflection; it appears as a broad glow in a distant sky just after sunset, it sneaks toward the foreground on the surface of a lake, it stretches across a floor or up a wall, or touches window sills and jambs.  In the landscapes, a lake stretches the light of the sky into the foreground, distributing sky colors into the landscape.  Inside buildings, the light comes to us from back rooms, through unseen windows, and around corners.  The light in these paintings represents how we experience it in the Nordic landscape.  It is sparse for a good part of the year but lengthy in midsummer when it lasts, fusing one day to the next.  The interior wall surfaces of the library’s reading room perform in much the same way. They gather daylight and reflect it, stretch it, simultaneously permitting it to be seen around the room and for the height of the drum above the bookshelves, even when the sun cannot be seen.

In contrast, the clear, intense, sunlight, of the kind of light that would have been encountered frequently by architects like Aalto and Asplund on their tours of Italy, is cooler in color, produces deep, sharp shadows, and is the kind of light capable of defining the detail and ornamentation found in the classical architecture of that region.  The low-angle sun characteristic of high latitudes, like Scandinavia, comes across the horizon, more nearly perpendicular to the face of a building.  When it strikes the face of a building, it tends to minimize the production of shadow: it erases texture and undermines detail, it obscures depth and flattens relief.  The loss of detail and texture that make distance and material legible and the scattered daylight of an overcast sky may produce an indeterminacy, a question as to distance and dimension that may be seen in the architecture of Scandinavia.  Some of this is present in the white, plaster surfaces of the cylinder walls in the library’s lending room.  Of the light in the Stockholm library, for example, Cornell writes that, “The distantless space above…is intended to give the impression of being absolutely indeterminate,”[32] a perception reinforced by the remoteness of the source of daylight depicted in turn-of-the-century paintings.

The library’s lending room walls reflect sun and skylight: light from the blue sky, light from overcast skies, and from all around the sky dome. The walls reflect and re-reflect the light, contributing to the experience of being in an expansive, illuminated, open space: under a sky-ceiling.  Even when the sun is strong enough to make a visible impression, a highlighted splash, stenciled by the window openings, this too is immediately released into the room by the walls. The lending room supports the idea that, particularly in architecture, a little sun goes a long way.

The diffusing surfaces of the drum, much more extensive than in the earlier domed proposal, may receive less illumination than they would have from the glazed dome, but the drum configuration with its generous surface area and continuous curve shares the available light more effectively, also mixing daylight with electric lighting installed in the space.

The plaster in the cylinder walls is not the smooth, finely finished surface we see at the Woodland Chapel.  It is discernably uneven, with irregular undulations in the surface. The hands of the plasterers are evident and the nature of the material certain, even at a distance. The undulations lend texture and therefore some degree of scale to the space, although as they are large, size and distance are still somewhat ambiguous.  The undulations are also uplighted by the electric lighting concealed just above the bookshelves. We are left with the impression of many small clouds in a distant sky, a portrayal also noted by Nicolas Adams, who invokes the notion of the ceiling-as-sky.[33]  It is the mix of daylight and electric light, illuminating the drum, which gives the space its lift and its visibility, and which merges the indeterminate with the tangible.  And although the library hours do not extend into the midnight and early morning, the fact that windows ring the space is a recognition that, at some times of the year, the sun can come from almost all around the horizon in this Nordic sky.


Before he was commissioned to design the library, Gunnar Asplund was engaged by the Library Committee to prepare a study for a “modern public library.[34]   In the course of his investigation, he travelled to the United States and England, where he saw libraries in which patrons found themselves in rooms embedded in their larger structures unexpectedly filled with daylight admitted by high windows and whose walls were thick with books.  Asplund found this at the British Museum Library Reading Room in London (Robert Smirke, 1857) and at Albert Kahn’s library expansion for the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, 1916-1920), in which a long, vaulted reading room with a verge of bookshelves that, like Asplund’s later library, was approached from below.  (Asplund’s approach is both a more direct and more graceful preparation for entry to the great room.)  Precedents closer to home also may have influenced the architect.  In the Social Security Administration, designed by Asplund’s friend and collaborator, Sigurd Lewerentz, there is a similar, linear promenade from the public sidewalk straight through the center of the atrium to a building entry on the opposite side.  The library’s clerestory lighting also may have been influenced by the Blue Room in the Stockholm City Hall (1905), designed by one of his teachers, architect Ragnar Ostberg (1905).

The Stockholm City Library is located at a prominent intersection in the city.  Its monumental presence, the centrally located rotunda (a center in a center), which surrounds its patrons with books and introduces daylight, are the elements of Asplund’s architectural strategy.  The resulting association of books and daylight, of curated human knowledge and enlightenment, is natural and time-honored; these things are neither accident nor afterthought.  The transition into enlightenment, its wonders and burdens, is underlined by the Adam and Eve door handle/figurines at the north library entrance.[35]  Asplund’s decisions are pragmatic and symbolically appropriate, such that the library develops its powerful, concurrent sense of security and exposure from his formal and daylighting strategies.  And it’s accomplished without technical addenda, such as shading devices or screens.  The daylight gathering and modifying instrument is the inhabitable space of the lending room itself.

Asplund’s library balances the urge to gather and protect with the need to be open to the world.  Here, monumentality is not just a function of scale or mass but of the concentration of competing urges.  Versions of this concentration of interests and tactics may be found in succeeding buildings and certainly in libraries, which include Louis I. Kahn’s Philips Exeter Library (1971) among others.[36]  The Stockholm library represents the commitment of the community to learning. The library patron proceeds right through to the protected center, and finds himself again in daylight, but surrounded by books—the world’s knowledge—which this institution, the first open shelf lending library in Sweden, makes all the more accessible by securing and illuminating it.


[1] Kyosti, Alander, editor; Viljo Revell, Works and Projects, New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc. 1966, pages 7-11, 66

[2] Alander, page 7.

[3] Marco Polo, “Toronto City Hall,” Canadian Architect, volume 39, issue 3, pages 42-43, March 1994

[4] Janne Ahlin, Sigurd Lewerentz, Architect, Stockholm: Byggforlaget and Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1987, page 106

[5] Ahlin, page 106

[6] Gunnar Asplund, Nagra Uppgifter…page 100

[7] Elias Cornell, “The Sky as Vault; Gunnar Asplund and the Articulation of Space,” Lectures and Briefings from the International Symposium on the Architecture of Gunnar Asplund, Christina Engfors, editor, Stockholm: Arkitekturemuseet Swedish Museum of Architecture, 1986, pages 85-99

[8] Peter Blundell Jones, Gunnar Asplund, New York: Phaidon Press, Inc., 2006, page 113.

[9] “…festivity under a night sky.” Gunnar Asplund; Scandia Cinema (1922-23) Gunnar Asplund, Byggmastaren, 1934, reprinted in International Architect, number 8, volume 1, issue 8, 1982, page 18

[10] Blundell Jones, Gunnar Asplund, page 109

[11] Blundell Jones, Gunnar Asplund, pages 102-105

[12] Blundell Jones, Gunnar Asplund, page 182

[13] Blundell Jones, Gunnar Asplund, page 189

[14] Cornell, “The Sky as Vault…”page 86

[15] The well known tedium of rooms lighted entirely by fluorescent lamps is benumbing; do I even have to footnote this?

[16] Blundell Jones, Gunnar Asplund, page117.  It has been understandably surmised that the neo-classical formality of the scheme was influenced by the Paris Barrieres of Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736-1806), but Blundell Jones, in his most complete book on Asplund, finds no evidence.  Kirstin Neilsson notes a Palladian inspiration for the scheme, but this would be mainly in plan. Neilsson, page 46

[17] The dome: “The space was to be generously day-lit by arched openings in the dome, glazed both inside and out—another interpretation of the sky-ceiling.” PBJ page 113

[18] The author’s calculations

[19] Stuart Wrede, The Architecture of Erik Gunnar Asplund, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1980, page 112

[20] Stuart Knight and Kerstin Nilsson, “Gunnar Asplund; The Stockholm City Library (1920-28),” International Architect, issue 8, 1982, page 16

[21] Kirstin Nielsson, “The Stockholm Library,” in Erik Gunnar Asplund, edited by Dan Cruickshank, London: The Architects’ Journal, 1988, page 46

[22] Gunnar Asplund, “Några Uppgifter Om Biblioteksbygget” (“Some Details About The Library Building”),

page 100, Byggmastaren, 1934, page 100. The article is translated and printed as “Gunnar Asplund; The Stockholm City Library (1920-1928)” in International Architect, issue 8, 1982, page 16.

[23] Asplund, “Några Uppgifter Om Biblioteksbygget” page 16.  The translation of this excerpt was amended by the author of this paper.

[24] The Swedish, “trakig,” may also imply “sad.”

[25] The author’s calculations.

[26] Cite library email

[27] Cite library email or website

[28] The author’s calculations.

[29] Nielson, “The Stockholm Library,” page 52

[30] Bjorn Linn, “Gunnar Asplund and the Northern Light in Architecture,” Lectures and Briefings from the International Symposium on the Architecture of Gunnar Asplund, Christina Engfors, editor, Stockholm: Arkitekturemuseet Swedish Museum of Architecture, 1986, page 73

[31] Kirk Varnedoe, Northern Light Nordic Art at the Turn of the Century, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988.  and documented in a catalog by curator.  The catalog is illustrated with paintings by Danish artists, Vilhelm Hammershoi and Peder Severin Kroyer; the Swede, Richard Bergh; the Finn, Albert Edelfelt; and Prins Eugen, of Sweden; among others.

[32] Cornell, “The Sky as Ceiling…” page 93

[33] Nicolas Adams, Gunnar Asplund’s Gothenburg: The Transformation of Public Architecture in Interwar Europe, Penn University Park, PA: State University Press, 2014, page 112

[34] Stuart Knight and Kerstin Nilsson, page 16

[35] Nielson, “The Stockholm Library,” page 55

[36] A predecessor might include Thomas Jefferson’s Rotunda at the University of Virginia (1826).  Worthy successors include James Stirling Michael Wilford’s Science Library at the University of California, Irvine (1994) and Jose Ignaco Linazasoro’s UNED Library in Madrid (1993).  Interestingly, of those cited here, only Asplund’s library calls for a full occupation of the center space.


Text Copyright 2017 Martin Schwartz