University Library, Freiburg im Breisgau (D)

From a rough blank to a polished diamond

The University Library stands at the edge of Freiburg's Old Town, on Platz der Universität, tucked into a row of fine buildings. The building which dates back to 1978 responds to this setting with a sculptural design. There was urgent need for a total refurbishment of the building due to its outdated technology and the necessity of repairing damage to the façade.

The reduction in form creates a sensitive dialogue with the surrounding buildings. The part of the building above ground was dismantled down to the ceiling above the basement while the two staircase cores were preserved as constructional cores. The glass façade smoothes the shape: the rough cut has become a polished diamond in which, however, the original design can still be seen.

Contact person Jürg Toffol
Client Property & Construction Baden-Wüttemberg, University Construction Office, Freiburg
Architects ARGE P.arc / Itten+Brechbühl AG / Degelo Architekten BSA SIA AG
Competition 1st rank 2006
Planning 2006-2008
Start of construction 2007
Start-up of operations 2015
Floor space 25 842 m2
Photos Oliver Kern, Freiburg