Dispute about “Octopus” the New National Library by Kaplicky

blob prague The word octopus is mentioned in the title, but this article is not about a cephalopod, the creature who inhabits many diverse regions of the ocean, but it is about new concept of the National Library in Prague which resembles an octopus. You must have heard about the famous architect Jan Kaplicky and his concept of the new building for the National Library. He won the international architectural competition, which was declared by the International Union of Architects (UIA). Jury compound of world famous architects, the Mayor of Prague Pavel Bem and the Director of Library Vlastimil Jezek. The Czech architect Eva Jiricna lives in Great Britain and was a jury foreman.

The National Library needs a new building, because it doesn’t have a place for its books. Every year the number of books increases for more than 56 000.

Kaplicky’s project counted with new depositories with capacity of 10 million books that would solve the problem for next 50 years. The library should have been built on Letna in 3 years, with costs estimated at 1,8 billion CZK (60 million €).The project criteria includes: 200 study places on 9 floors, a system for expedition of books, which would provide getting any book in 3 minutes, and a depository for 10 million books underground. “The building has fabulous colour, which begins as colour of champagne, yellow-gold and nose-up continues as almost white colour. The building has a big eye, which looks at the city – on the one side there is the Prague Castle and on the other side there is the Old Town Square”, says Kaplicky.

Now the possibility that this futuristic building of the National Library will be built decreases. The Director of the National Library Vlastimil Jezek permitted that he will have to declare a new competition. Why? ODS representatives blocked sale of land on Letna which the city detached for the building one year ago. The most of ODS representatives do not like an “octopus” or they do not want it on Letna nearby the Prague Castle. The Mayor Pavel Bem (ODS) suggests he will find a new place for it, for example at Pankrac plain. However, it is not possible to build it somewhere else, because the architect created the plan for Letna as it was submitted in the competition. “If it was another place it would be a new competition”, says Jezek. Kaplicky said he had no reason to move the building. It must be remarked that the President Vaclav Klaus does not like the building as well.

And what about people? How do they like it? The most of experts and ordinary people do not agree with this concept. They do not like location of the building, height or they think the building is not dignified for the function of the National Library. On the other hand people who like it say that time for courageous projects has come. They say Prague miss a new building of the world significance.

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