Kengo Kuma to create the new Ibsen Library in Norway

Kengo Kuma & Associates and Mad Arkitekter have won the competition for the new Ibsen Library in Skien, Norway. The team created the sweeping timber library to celebrate the renowned playwright Henrik Ibsen. The project creates multiple access points across multiple floors to form a welcoming environment. The aim of the library is to make Ibsen’s drama and literature accessible to everyone.
The new library will integrate residents services, a cafe, children’s area, tourist information and a National Ibsen Center in a “continuous journey” through the cityscape to the library. It also includes an indoor auditorium and an outdoor amphitheater.
Connecting the existing park nearby with the city, the project uses a downtown slope that flows through the building site. The design’s curvilinear footprint and glazed facade traces a series of trees on site along the perimeter of the park. The scheme creates seamless indoor and outdoor connections through no fixed walls on the project’s two main levels and low bookshelves acting as soft dividers.
A landscaped roof rises up to the city’s urban scale and inside – a palette of warm timber invites visitors. The roof also uses a wood shingle system commonly present in traditional Norwegian buildings. As the team says, the main strategy of the Ibsen Library project is to “reflect the nature of the Silver Vein” in Henrik Ibsen’s work.