Stockholm Public Library by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund in Stockholm, Sweden

Welcome to “Art, Culture & Books” with me Anthony King. Today I’ll be taking you on a photographic tour of the Stockholm Public Library by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund in Stockholm, Sweden. It was established in 1928 and is definitely an architectural highlight in Stockholm.

As always, I take all the photos and videos myself on location, ensuring you get an up-close and personal view of the fascinating world of art and culture. I’ll be popping in and out with commentary as this video progresses but for now let’s take a close up look.

Stockholm Public Library, designed by Asplund, embarked on construction in 1924, showcasing a distinctive rotunda exterior inspired by the Barrière Saint-Martin, in Paris. Also known as La Rotonde Stalingrad, I have spent a few nights clubbing in there and I will never forget it stinking to high heaven of cigarette smell. It’s not right in the centre but I suggest that if you’re in Paris for an extended time that you do take a walk around the area.

Back to Stockholm though, Asplund’s departure from classical norms embraced a functional design approach, simplifying architectural elements for a more modern feel. It strangely feels modern to this day.

The library officially opened its doors on March 31, 1928, with the addition of the west wing in 1932, completing the central reading room. This architectural evolution mirrors Asplund’s transition from classical influences to a more functional and contemporary vision.

Asplund’s influence extends beyond the library building itself. He designed the parkland to the south, featuring a pond and shops along Sveavägen, which reached completion in 1931. Additionally, annex buildings to the west, though designed by different architects, remain integral to the overall concept.

Interestingly, Arnos Grove tube station in North London draws inspiration from the innovative design principles seen in Stockholm Public Library.

The library houses over 2 million volumes and 2.4 million audio materials, including tapes, CDs, and audiobooks. Asplund’s design is a stand out and it should be on your list of things to see when visiting Stockholm, in my opinion.

By Anthony King (c)