National Library of the Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

The building accepts and continues the existing urban structure. Outside entirely an object it is inside reverse; here it is entirely space.

The diagram of the national library is simple and clear: All secondary functions take the large volume of the central book storage in their middle as to foster the invaluable treasure of the Czech collective memory. Both visitors and staff access the building right at Milady Horakove; the visitors are guided via a long ramp towards the large atrium space of the main library hall. From here and between secondary functions and storage a public “walk of reading” displaying the world of books leads visitors through the building including the large volume of the storage and all the way up to the “literature restaurant” and the multifunctional areas at the top. From here people enjoy a magnificent view over the Letenské Sady Park, over the river Moldau and further to the Hradcany and the historic city centre. Built as a monolithic concrete structure and clad with silver white metal shingels the building appears almost like a treasure in itself. Allowing only partly insights it gives a subtle hint to the hidden content that is yet to be discovered. By its modern shape however it is a clear statement for the actuality of books and reading.