Tenacious intervention: Students Annett Donat and Jakob Pawlowski intend for their project for the Herzog August Library to tear down no less than half the old building.

More space in the ivory tower

Berlin students have designed an extension to the famous Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel. So far, their ideas have remained on the drawing board.

The Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel is one of the most important research institutes for the Middle Ages and early Modern period. Founded as a collection in the mid-16th century by the Dukes of Braunschweig-Lüneburg, the library grew constantly through the acquisition of various estates as well as collections from monastery libraries and permanent loans. Famous librarians included Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781). The library collection was housed in a building in Wolfenbüttel designed by architect Hermann Korb, the first purpose-built secular library in Europe.

In spring 2016 the Herzog August Library invited students from Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) to devise plans for a new service building as part of their design seminar. The brief: to link the depot used since 2016 with the main Wilhelminian building of the library proper and solve the space problems facing the institution.

In line with the complexity of the task, the proposals by the students vary immensely. While some focus on the important issue of the internal connection between the different buildings, others concentrate more on incorporating the Herzog August Library into the urban environment, and others still on continuing the history of the institution in a digital age, or finally on the role of the library as a public institution, which lends Wolfenbüttel a certain identity. Overall, the results of the design seminar are to be seen as reflections on the importance of various topical and spatial aspects of the Herzog August Library and are aimed at facilitating future planning work.


What if...? Student designs for an expansion of the Herzog August Library
Armory of the Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel
38304 Wolfenbüttel
runs until February 1, 2017
Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Admission is free 


What if...? Student designs for an expansion of the Herzog August Library
edited by Peter Burschel, Matthias Ballestrem, Kai Nikolaus Grüne and Marie v. Lüneburg
164 pages with color illustrations,
ISBN: 978-3-88373-528-3,
Price: €5

Spine: In her proposal Thea Cheret has a narrow and long pavilion run along the library’s old building and stacks.
Cubic: Benno Schmitz and Lion Langmaak envisage three equally-shaped buildings, one of which is placed in the inner courtyard of the main building.