Library spaces we love: the Black Diamond

Today’s post comes from Alyson Dalby, ILN Program Coordinator

Reflections on the Black Diamond, the National Library of Denmark, Copenhagen

Reflections on the Black Diamond, the National Library of Denmark, Copenhagen

In 2011 I was travelling in Scandinavia, and made a point of visiting the Black Diamond, also known as the Royal Library of Denmark.

I believe that the name Black Diamond only refers to part of the library – the new extension that juts out towards the water in Copenhagen. This extension connects seamlessly to the old part of the library, in the Holm Building. I love the striking nature of the architecture – it’s not gentle, or timid. It’s bold and sharp. Which, by itself, I would not find so appealing – it works well because of how it’s used in combination with the older architecture.

Inner atrium

Inner atrium

The use of light in the building is fantastic. There’s a tall atrium through which light pours and the view out to Copenhagen’s canals is gorgeous, pure Copenhagen (a pretty city). I spent some time wandering amongst the glass walls, taking in the light and lines. And then, I wandered down a corridor, and found myself in the old part of the library, without warning, where I also saw some beautiful architecture and design. These bookends charmed me.

If I could speak to the designers I’d love to know about the practicalities of piecing the two buildings together. I have no building skills whatsoever – I would love to see how they stitched these very different elements together, down to the knocking out of walls!

Bookends in the Royal Library

Bookends in the Royal Library

One comment

  1. Katarzyna Falow · · Reply

    I visited this library three years ago, too. The Black Diamond has done impression to me. Interestingly conected history and modernity. I love it.

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