Casanova + Hernandez architects

National Library of Czech Republic


source: Casanova + Hernandez architects

The National Library of the Czech Republic seeks to represent the identity of a modern library in the XXI century and simultaneously to become a landmark for the city of Prague and a symbol of the National Identity. The library is designed as an artificial landscape linked to the existing topography of the place that grows vertically limited by a prismatic volume.The library is conceptually related to the accumulation of different stacked layers of soft material that have been transformed in strata along the time, thus representing the spirit of a National Library that is to collect, preserve and show to the citizens the cultural heritage of the country along the history.
























The natural landscape of the hill where the site is located is smoothly transformed into an artificial landscape that guides the visitors from the public spaces designed at the exterior of the building into the public zones on ground floor. From there, gentle slopes conduct the public to the upper levels where they can read and study, while sitting on undulating slopes with views over the surrounding landscape. These molded platforms work as an auditorium where the public can sit like spectators in a theater with views over Prague as scenario.The platforms divide the building vertically in several departments according to the different levels of accessibility. At the same time the shaped floors become walls of separation between departments allowing easy and direct connections. They are like pages of a book that separate chapters but simultaneously give continuity to the whole lecture of the building.The different shapes and orientations of the platforms create a great diversity of interior spaces with different views, spatial configuration and lighting conditions. This allows the possibility not only of placing the specific parts of the programme in the most adequate location of the building but also to give the opportunity to the visitors to choose their study place.The public circulation along the building will become a continuous promenade through this undulated landscape that, like a public street, offers a sequence of different views over the city.This promenade ends at the public area on the top platform where the theatre halls, relaxation areas and restaurant with panoramic views over the city are located. The interior of the building is dominated by the 'fluent' floors and slopes that contrast with the static presence of the core where the national archive is located.The exterior image of the library is based on the undulating section produced by the floors that dialogue with the large glazed surfaces of the facade.This glass will be printed in order to control the transparency depending on the orientation of the facade and the use located in the interior. The structure of the curtain wall of the facade will be use to regulate the sunlight inside the library.



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