ADEPT wins Dalarna Library competition

Exterior render © ADEPT Architects Sou Fujimoto
Exterior render © ADEPT Architects

Danish architects ADEPT Architects, together with an impressive group of collaborators, have been awarded with the 1st prize on the competition for the Dalarna Library in Sweden. The team includes Sou Fujimoto (Japan, see all his projects previously featured on AD), Topotek1 (Germany), Rambøll A/S (Denmark) and Bosch & Fjord (Denmark).

The new library, placed centrally at the Dalarna university campus, is organized as a ”spiral of knowledge” (see diagram below). The sloping terrain continues in a ramp through the building. Wrapping itself the ramp creates a spiral-shaped space – the heart of the building for information seeking and easy orientation. This organization of program creates a various learning environment where students can take part in the vibrant life of the library as well as retreat into various study niches. The different sound levels and activities create a diverse and eventful library.

Diagrams © ADEPT Architects Sou Fujimoto
Diagrams © ADEPT Architects Sou Fujimoto

The library has its own spatial character in which library and multimedia functions unite and create synergy with the existing university. Wooden facades integrate the building in the surroundings, reflecting the local tradition of using wood as construction material.

Dalarna Media Plaza is created in addition to the library – together they form a new landmark for Högskolan Dalarna. Through a simple reorganization the car park becomes a new surface with ‘islands’ of activities. The programming of the Plaza is flexible and will be developed in the user process. The Plaza, which is a mix of recreational functions and furniture, serves as arrival area and hang-out space for users of Högskolan, the library and visitors in the area.

Interior render © ADEPT Architects Sou Fujimoto
Interior render © ADEPT Architects Sou Fujimoto

This project will help to attract people in the neighborhood, thereby anchoring the library in the local community. In addition the ambition is to project strengthen the collaboration between regional and international educational and research institutions. With its public functions and activities Dalarna Media Library will become a dynamo in the area and an attraction for both local inhabitants and businesses. Activities in the café, exhibitions, lectures, continuing education, etc. will provide fertile ground for international exchange and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Model, interior © ADEPT Architects Sou Fujimoto
Model, interior © ADEPT Architects Sou Fujimoto

Jury statement

“In conclusion it’s an exciting building rich on variety and with many possible meeting points integrated in a coherent environment […] The proposal has solved the total program in an interesting, exciting and playful manner – inside as well as outside.”

Project: Dalarna Media Arena
Type: invited competition
Program: University Library + Plaza
Client: Högskolan Dalarna, Falun Municipality
Size: 3000 m2
Year: 2010
Collaborators: Sou Fujimoto, Topotek 1, Rambøll A/S and Bosch & Fjord
Renderings: Luxigon

Cite: Basulto, David. "ADEPT wins Dalarna Library competition" 10 Aug 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • AxeTB

    I like the way the corner of the building is lifted to make you feel welcome and be engulfed in the building. Although it does seem to be becoming a trend to do this.

    Further I think the interiors look very accomodating and “free”. I think the public will really be able to decide for themselves how they use the stairs, slopes, floors, etc. which means the value of the building is partly dependant on the creativity of the people using it. Love that aspect of it :)

  • frank

    Everything comes from somewhere.

    This design, knowingly or not, appears to be miming Aalto; i.e. pit libraries, exterior solid walls of books, toplighting, level changes…. This has all been done before.

    Vipuri was the the first modern library; Asplund at Stockholm just preceded. Ledoux had the same idea too.

    The prototype is huge in Scandinavia owing to need to max out light. The only variant here is the skewed plan adjustments and the ramps.

    I wonder if there were any TRULY new ideas in this competition….. The only thing new really here is the (proto-decon) fashion.

  • Pete

    Rem Koolhaas did a sort of spiral in the nf section of the downtown Seattle Public Library. Bookcarts are all braked and sloped accordingly. Sort of an outsiders ideal of the flow of knowledge; Really– how does a 399 relate to a 400?

    A beautiful space is always welcome.