Country colors combined with light and veneer

Luxemburg National Library is the capital's new landmark

The National Library of Luxemburg in red reinforced concrete proudly rises above the uniformly gray development on Kirchberg overlooking the center of capital city. The boldly cut entry portal, the imposing eye-catcher of the new landmark, towers up to 10 meters over the neighboring buildings. More than 10 years of planning and five years of construction went into the development of the self-assured building.

It goes without saying that the new building was not a simple undertaking. After all, a national library represents and safeguards the entire written heritage of a nation. Today the National Library of Luxemburg (BnL) holds more than 1.5 million printed documents and innumerable digital publications from all fields of knowledge. The move alone of about 40 kilometers of documents from several sites to the new central building stretched over four months.


Inside visitors find a bright, transparent foyer and three separate spaces – the entry with conference rooms, consultation areas in the middle, and the core of the building with five levels of document storage. On the third floor is a reading room with direct access to some 200,000 books from international and Luxemburg sources. Outfitted with a café, several conference and training rooms, an amphitheater, a music room and audio booths, the BnL lives up to its name as an educational and cultural center.

The atmosphere is ideal for a library. Many quiet zones offer places for relaxation, where visitors can settle in and dive into documents. Lots of light, high-quality veneer and the national colors of blue, white and red form the visual frame. The warm and inviting character of the building is underscored by luxuriant oak veneer prominently placed on ceilings, walls, stairs and furniture. Schorn & Groh, the Karlsruhe veneer specialist, delivered about 1000 square meters of veneer for exceptional wall coverings.


The choice fell to the easy-to-use product variant FLEX with stabilizing fleece backing. FLEX is manufactured from raw veneer by Schorn & Groh in the southern German city of Eschelbronn and is available in more than 140 wood species, with a variety of jointing technologies and customized sizes. The veneer can be pre-sanded and/or flexed, depending on the customer's requirements. The perforation in the veneer ensures pleasant acoustics, which are so essential for a library. The Akustik & Raum AG was responsible for the production of the FineMicro (FM300µm) sound-absorbing elements in the finished wall covering and their installation. The acoustic specialists, based in Olten, Switzerland, have regularly cooperated with Schorn & Groh on other projects. The interior fittings for the National Library of Luxemburg were tested in advance in a model room, optimized and approved by the client.

Especially noteworthy is the technical and energy concept, which consolidates the basic principles that apply to public buildings in Luxemburg. The building's air-tight envelope is equipped with good thermal insulation and valuable sun protection. What results is referred to "thermal inertia" in which the construction materials strike a balance between storing heat and heat protection to maintain a constant indoor temperature during the day and year-round. In addition, an innovative system of natural ventilation and cooling was developed that makes good use renewable energy and minimizes energy consumption. Artificial light, for example, is used only to supplement natural lighting.

The total cost of the library was an impressive 112 million EUR. The valuable building reflects its weighty role as the country's central knowledge platform. The BnL was designed and realized by the architectural firm Bolles + Wilson of Münster. The companies Unikat Interior, Schreinerei Adams, Der Ernzerhof and Akustik & Raum AG were responsible for interior design.