As the Klementinum National Library needs more storage space for books, Prague is considering building a new library. The old proposal, from ten years, ago by Jan Kaplický is back in the game. The late architect’s wife is offering his proposal for free.
Klementinum has been under reconstruction for seven years now. After repairs, the institution’s overall storage capacity was supposed to reach up to 11 million volumes. Unfortunately, according to the final estimations, the institution will only have enough space for 8.6 million works.
An earlier project, that was refused years ago, was brought up again as an easy solution to the space problem. Architect Jan Kaplický’s design, nicknamed “the blob” or “the octopus” on Letná, won the architectural design competition for a new library building back in 2007. The design is now being reconsidered. The location for the new building is still Letná park.
The controversial design of the building attracted many complaints then, and is still being criticized today. The “blob” has a modern, energy-saving and colorful design. Many pointed out that the building would disrupt the cityscape. In 2007, then president Václav Klaus allegedly proclaimed during his official visit to Prague 9 that he is “willing to tie himself down to defend against such a building on Letná with his body, just like anti-nuclear activists at Temelín.”
Other locations are also being considered for the new library building. “It is important to take into account Prague’s architecture, public transport accessibility, and other important factors,” states the director. The Prague Institute for Planning and Development is supposed to help finalize the location.