University of Zurich Law Faculty Library, Switzerland

Santiago Calatrava
Date Built
1989 - 1994
Rämistrasse 71 
8006 Zürich
The Law Faculty Library of Zurich University occupies a remodeled former laboratory building that dates from 1908.  The new library is inserted into the existing courtyard of the historic building.  The architect's website explains that he added a, "... hydraulically movable pleated curtain of collapsible blades to provide the reading rooms with controlled natural light from the ceiling, which also function as acoustic tiles. Ultimately, Calatrava also provided his artworks for the building including a nine feet high bronze sculpture installed in the lobby."  The "" website explains that, "... The transformation of the building is barely evident on its principal facade .....

.... and it is only by entering the light-filled void of the new library that the contrast between the old and the new is fully revealed to the visitor. Six floors of elliptical galleries appear to float beneath a glass-covered dome. The spine of a curved box girder with transversal ribs supports the large roof light.


Calatrava also provided the art work that is on display in the lobby.