Fribourg University Library



Fribourg, CH


Etat de Fribourg


New public and university library


19 400 m²






Libraries are temples of knowledge. These quiet places, favorable to concentration, are often introverted and traditionally designed without external view.

In our proposal the building is composed of different spaces that are sometimes introverted, sometimes extroverted- quiet and spacious volumes bathed in light, in which the filtered opening towards the exterior gives calm and enables the mind to escape during the moments of reflexion.

The site conditions and the existing buildings impose strong constraints for any new construction, which seem contrary to what a library has to offer: a deep layer, which makes difficult the provision of natural light; low ceiling heights, making it difficult to create large volumes; difficult circulation and accessibility.

We started to work around each of these constraints:

- The plan is pierced by deep canyons of light that illuminate the reading rooms at low levels.

- The floors levels are shifted or removed to create double and triple height spaces,

- The corridors connecting the two public entrances at high and low levels are very clear, with a set of platforms that are open and interconnected providing an overall readability of the space.

The existing neo-baroque BCU building on the north of the site is a mixture of original and generous spaces. Externally, our proposal acts as an extension of the existing building, following the same logic on the facades – regular and direct on the street side, curved and sensual towards the garden.

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