One of the first posts I did on this blog was about the fact that the competition for the extension of the library in Stockholm (by Erik Gunnar Asplund) got about 1170 entries.
And now, the result for the second round is in. In this second round, six design teams got the chance to develop their proposals further. Of these six, the project of Heike Hanada, called "Delphinium" was ultimately selected by the jury. In the results of the first round, her design didn't quite catch my eye, since it wasn't one of the most spectacular of the six. But the second stage really brought out the qualities of the plan - unlike some of the others (for instance, I think that the initial qualities of the "Blanket" plan are completely ruined in the second stage).
The plan is quite respectful towards the Asplund Libary, creating some distance between the old building and the annex, and functioning like a backdrop of some kind. But the new building is more than just a stage for the Asplund building to shine upon: it has a nice secret garden (behind the lower part of the building), which is visible from a spatial route inside the complex. And it has similar qualities as the Asplund building has: simple and clean geometric shapes, a speaking subtle ornamentation and a humane expression. It may not be the most spectacular building that could have been selected, but it's a good, well thought out design. It's pretty Swedish, in a way: it's more safe than experimental, it's more kind than in-your-face, it's very "logom" which is a typical swedish concept and can be translated by "just right" or "just enough".
For more information about the competition, check out the official website.