Switzerland’s Herzog & de Meuron is first contemporary architect to be honoured with exhibition at the gallery

The newly completed university library at Cottbus in eastern Germany is one of 70 projects by Swiss architect Herzog & de Meuron to be exhibited at the Tate Modern art gallery in London.

With its amoeba-like plan, the free-standing library building seems to ooze out into the surrounding landscape. Internally, its shape accommodates several interconnected reading rooms of various sizes and orientations.

The dense, irregular patterning on the external window walls was created by superimposing several layers of texts in different languages and alphabets.

The exhibition, which opens next Wednesday and runs until 29 August, is Tate Modern’s first to feature a contemporary architect and is fittingly devoted to the firm that converted the gallery from a disused power station five years ago.

Among the projects exhibited are museums under development in New York and the Canary Islands, commercial buildings in Beijing and Madrid, a concert hall in Hamburg harbour and the Olympic stadium in Beijing.

Not shown is Herzog & de Meuron’s only current British project, the £135m conversion and extension of Tate Modern’s south side.

This semi-derelict zone, which contains one-third of the total floor area of the building, is partly occupied by a public electricity substation.

The aim is to provide 60% more display space and more young people’s rooms, and a design is to be unveiled in the autumn. Work is due to be completed by 2012.