“White Case“

The new national library of the Czech Republic  

Location of the building

„White Case“, the building of the new national library of the Czech Republic is situated along the street Milady Horakove, Prague.The suggested building integrates itself into the orthogonal grid of the town planning situation. It remains all together solitary with four independent facades. Views and cuttings show partially the internal structure.The aimed sculpture gives light and transparency to the inside of the body of the library.Different qualities of rooms originate from the use of the inner building and from gardening courtyards forming the interior of the library. The east-oriented and south-oriented facades of the library seek at first the architectural end to the big free surface of the park Letna. Different “scenery windows” open the view from the building into the park Letna and will simultaneously percolate the park into the compressed scenery of the inner courtyards.The west facade is defined by its steady spatial surroundings of the existing buildings. This side of the library finds its architectural completion in a progressive rate of the 5th floor.Following the structure of the new tunnel in front of the new national library, a forecourt is situated. This forecourt includes the main entrance to the library and the exit of the tunnel. It is also a place to stay and to relax. 

General concept of the architectural design

The books are protected by cases. Our concept is to protect all knowledge of the Czech Republic in a „White Case“. The intended purpose of the „White Case“ is to protect books, to showcase books, but also to offer a place where to restore them. A further purpose of the „white case“ will be research.The formative principle of the facades is based on the golden ratio. The bold cubic design of our suggestion for the new national library is accentuated by the restricted areas of fenestration, mainly in the form of frameless slits and openings. When lighting is needed, as for example to illuminate workplaces, we suggest windows that are screened externally with printed glass to 1 emphasize the hermetic appearance of the building. Light enters the „White Case“ through the courtyards. 

Description of operational and spatial relations inside the building

The building will integrate several functions that can easily be recognized from the construction. The user enters the library from public area. Here all functions which do not need a check in or check out are located, as for example reception, restaurant, the multipurpose halls, bookshop and a café. After this, and clearly separated by the main desk, the main library hall follows. We suggest a roofed patio for this area that also serves for checking in. This place can be experienced throughout all levels of the building.The workplaces of the management as well as the storages are located in the southern part of the complex of buildings. Access to the connection between these areas will be possible only for authorised employees.The internal organisation follows the principle of a central development in the area of the main library hall and the main desk (patio). The net-like relation between the areas offers an easy orientation and short ways between the departments.The functional units of the new national library are reflected in different features of the construction. Great emphasis is placed on the public area with the reception, the exhibition area, the relaxation zones or the café. As a place of communication, they are designed with a spacious layout and ample lighting. The workplaces and administration areas are restrained in design and receive daylight via a system of internal courtyards.In contrast, the stacks and storages and also the lecture halls have only small lights which can be blacked out to protect paper, but also for audio-visual presentations. 

Brief technical description of the structural design and material

We suggest with this „White Case“ a ferroconcrete construction with a pre-hung facade made of white coloured concrete elements and printed glass elements which are provided with a flat roof. The building receives a conventional foundation according to requirements.