Goteborg University Library/



Project Details



Goteborg / Sweden


Educational Unbuilt

Year (Design/Construction):

2021 / -

Area (Net/Gross):

- / 16.300 m2
Operational Carbon emissions

Operational Carbon emissions (B6) kgCO2e/m2/y:

Embodied Carbon emissions

Embodied Carbon emissions (A1-A3) kgCO2e/m2:

  • The eight upper floors use wood as the primary building material for the structure and finishings.

Project description as provided by the architects.

The Danish architecture firm Cobe, led by Founder Dan Stubbergaard, has won the prestigious international competition for a new university library in the heart of Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg.

The new 16,000 m2 university library in the Swedish city of Gothenburg will be designed by a Danish team: architect Dan Stubbergaard and the rest of the architecture firm Cobe have won the international competition for the prestigious project. The new library will be located in the heart of Gothenburg, in the university area of Näckrosen, near to many of the city’s cultural institutions and to the Faculties of Humanities and The Fine, Applied and Performing Arts. In addition to providing a new and attractive setting for knowledge-sharing and research in the Swedish university city, the building will house the existing libraries for the humanities, the arts, music and drama as well as the university archives and digital services. Cobe’s project was selected by a unanimous jury, made up of representatives from Akademiska Hus – a state-owned property company and the client for several Swedish universities – as well as the University of Gothenburg, the City of Gothenburg and Architects Sweden.

”The proposal from Cobe is the single concept from the competition with the greatest devel-opment potential and displays a clear and unique identity. It adapts to the site’s unique qualities while also meeting the specific needs of the University of Gothenburg. Cobe is a very worthy winner and will continue to be our partner as we move on to further developing and concretizing the project,” says Hayar Gohary, Project Director at Akademiska Hus and Chairman of the jury.

Cobe’s winning project uses the book as the source of inspiration and point of departure for the design. Both the lightness and the gravity of a book is reflected in the subtle  curvature of the building’s volume and the vertical lines of its facade – much like the pages of a book, just being opened. The volume rests on an open and transparent ground floor with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows. The ambition is to allow the building to blend in with the surrounding park, to invite both new and current users inside, and to stand out as a beacon of knowledge at the top of the university area of Näckrosen.

Dan Stubbergaard, architect and Founder of Cobe, explains, ”This is an exceptional commission to win, and we are very proud and honoured. With the library’s placement at the top of the hill, we aim to create a distinctive beacon of knowledge. The book serves as the inspiration and point of departure for the design, the building volume, its colours and materials all point to a book being opened. Regardless of which direction you approach it from, you are invited in.

The integration of the building and park was a key consideration from the outset, and we have deliberately preserved as much of the existing park landscape as possible. In doing so, we have created an open connection between the city, the university and the library’s users. We look forward to working with Akademiska Hus and the University of  Gothenburg to further develop our competition proposal.”

The library will contain quiet zones for focused work as well as active areas and gathering spaces that can be used for events, exhibitions, meetings, and lectures – a distinction that is also reflected in the choice of materials. The active, open ground floor, paved in granite features a visible concrete structure, which allows for large and open spaces, while the eight upper floors, which house the library itself, are constructed of wood. In addition to being an exceptionally sustainable and durable material that reduces the building’s CO2 footprint, wood also provides a pleasant indoor environment with a stress-mitigating acoustic profile. The building’s facade will consist of light-coloured, vertical elements that act as a sun screen.

With the library, the University of Gothenburg gains additional meeting facilities, better research environments and an innovative setting for housing the university’s collection. In the core of the library, Sweden’s first fully automated book depository stores and retrieves books and other media in an efficient and compact way. The public stairs of the building are situated around the depository, placing books and the knowledge contained within them at the very core of the experience of the building. Study areas and offices are located toward the facade, which ensures optimal daylight conditions and spectacular views of the park and the city.

The construction of the university library is scheduled to begin in 2025 with completion in 2028. It is Cobe’s fourth project to be realized in Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg.

Photography: All images courtesy of Cobe

Client: Akademiska Hus

Project: Cobe Architects

Collaborators: Buro Happold

Link to the project on the architect website:

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