New building fot the Czech National Library – The Never Ending Story

The institution of the Czech National Library needs a new building. Now the library is placed in the old historical building of Klementinum, but this space is not suitable anymore. There is not enough room for all the books. To solve this problem, they held a competition, searching for the best design of the new library building, which should be placed in Letna area, in Prague 7. As the winner was announced an architect Jan Kaplicky with his Future Systems studio. Kaplicky, a Czech, who lives and works in London, won with his extravagant and for someones quite shocking project – a building of organic shape, in combination of green and purple colours, which became known as “Blob“. Some people really liked it, other ones did not, some ones liked the idea of the extravagant building but did not want it to be placed on such beautiful and important place in Letna, which may partly destroy a beautiful panorama of old Prague… so the never ending story about the National Library building started. If you are long in Prague, maybe you have already heard about it. There were also already published some notes on this topic here, on this website.

The problem with the library was not only the extravagant look of the building, but also some issues concerning the run of the exhibition. Was it fair? The union of the Czech architect said it was not. Yes, it may seem that they were just disappointed, because they did not win themselves, but if they were right. They said that the winning project of Jan Kaplicky did not follow all the conditions of the exhibition – the stock space is under the ground in his design, which according to original rules of the exhibition should not be. There were and still are other problems, but it would be boring just to repeat them all the time around, if you want to get to know more about it, you can read it in older article. Everybody got already quite annoyed, after many passionate discus ions and argues, by this library thing. But the problem is still unsolved.

Although, there are some fresh news now. The Czech anti-monopoly office asked European commission for their opinion about the competition. And the office said, that the competition was not o.k. So what is going to happen now? To National Library can be advised to cancel the competition. But if they will be advised this, they are not, according to words of its director Jezek, likely to it. So is the library thing going to end in the court? And who is going to pay all the money that were spent on the expensive exhibition and are still to be spent – all Czech people who pay taxes. The story about new building is already too long, complicated and people got too tired of it. And, if the not only extravagant, but also very expensive building should not be in Prague, other towns already showed interest to have it, not only Czech Brno, but also British Edinburgh, but the architect Jan Kaplicky does not want it to be anywhere else. How this story will end? And how more long will it take?

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