National Library of Latvia
LERA was the structural engineer for this 600,000-sf (55,740-sm) national library, whose unique shape is meant to evoke Latvian folk legends of the Castle of Light and the Glass Mountain. The new, hulking building provides a central location for 5.5 million volumes (previously scattered among 10 buildings throughout the city), and has the capacity to store up to 8 million books in total.
The books are stored in stacks that rise through the core of the facility, from which they are electronically retrieved and delivered to reading rooms in under 30 minutes. In the soaring atrium, a full-wall display of books that were donated by local residents emphasizes the library’s presence as a new cultural landmark.
Republic of Latvia
Gunnar Birkerts Architects
AIA/ALA Library Building Award, 2017
American Institute of Architects (AIA)/ American Library Association (ALA)