Staatsbibliothek.gif (2945 bytes)
STAATSBIBLIOTHEK-C0093-3.jpg (62143 bytes)


Potsdamer Strasse 33

The Staatsbibliothek forms the eastern boundary of the Kulturforum, a complex of buildings which also includes Scharoun’s Philharmonie and Kammermusiksaal and Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie. The building exhibits an architectural language familiar from Scharoun’s Philharmonie (completed in 1963), but pleasingly and appropriately adapted to the program of a library. If the Philharmonie’s sculptural interior (generated by the concert hall itself) stretches and compresses its exterior, the Staatsbibliothek’s multiple reading, research and stack spaces make for a gentler, and less agitated exterior. The spaces within are wonderfully modulated. The volumes of reading rooms, offices, and stacks are seemingly stitched together by stairways and smaller changes in level. The building beckons to be explored.

STAATSBIBLIOTHEK-C0091-2.jpg (41168 bytes)   STAATSBIBLIOTHEK-C0090-1.jpg (20269 bytes)

Along with the Exeter Library designed by Louis Kahn, the Staatsbibliothek is probably the most famous of modern libraries. Its contribution to architects’ understanding of a building type with a long and well-documented history has been extremely influential in subsequent library design. Scharoun’s building, while deriving its form from its function, is no mere sum of functional parts. Its expressiveness—and that of Scharoun’s other buildings in the Kulturforum—is personal and idiosyncratic in ways that mark a clear contrast to the canonical international style exhibited by its neighbor, Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie (1965-68).

STAATSBIBLIOTHEK-C0097-4.jpg (57134 bytes)

Jay Berman 1999


How to visit

The Staatsbibliothek is south of the Tiergarten and west of Potsdamer Platz.

Ubahn/Sbahn: S1, S2, U2

Station: Potsdamer Platz

Books and other web sites

Click the book title to view and to order direct from


3764355816_m.gif (8794 bytes) Hans Scharoun

J. Christoph Burkle
Hans Scharoun: Buildings in Berlin

Peter Blundell Jones, Michael Kaplan (Photographer)

Stereo (3-D) photography of the Philharmonie and Staatsbibliothek, on three View-Master reels (requires View-Master stereo viewer), bringing the buildings to life like no conventional photography can

All links outside galinsky will open in a new window. Close it when you've finished, or use the Window menu on your browser, to return to galinsky.


   Welcome    |    About galinsky    |    Contact/contribute    |    Architects    |    Europe    |    North America    |    Travel packs

   copyright © galinsky 1998-2006. e-mail