National Library to stay in Klementinum

A new library building is not planned for the near future

The National Library will remain in the Klementinum, and not move to new building such as the proposed controversial Blob.

The Klementinum has been under renovation since 2010. The original plan was to renovate the historical complex near Charles Bridge in Old Town and also build and additional modern building elsewhere, such as the plain at Letná. It now seems the modern building won't be needed.

The third and final phase of the Klementinum renovation will be the most expensive, costing some Kč 1 billion.

The National Library's (NK) current leadership wants to call a tender this fall for a contractor for the final phase. Work should begin in the first quarter of 2019, according to NK spokeswoman Irena Maňáková.

The third stage has been registered with the Ministry of Culture since last December. In May, the NK began negotiations on a merged territorial and construction proceedings for permits. The construction must be completed by the end of 2020 so it can draw money from the government's National Monument Care Program.

The third phase will repair a large northern wing on Platnéřská Street and a service hall in the center of the complex. Part of it will get a new roof and an entry hall with a glass portal. New entrances and new elevators will make it easier to move around the building for people with reduced mobility.

During the renovation some students will have to use alternative spaces.

The library capacity during the time of the renovation will be complemented by facilities in Hostivař.

The first two phases faced a number of delays due to an unclear vision and changes in library management.

Repairs to the Klementinum began in 2010, and the first phase lasted over a year. It included work on a corner building on Mariánské náměstí toward Platnéřská Street and the part with the Mirror Chapel and the Baroque Library Hall.

The National Technical Library, which had been at the Klementinum since 1935, moved to a new, modern building in Dejvice in 2009. After that, the eastern wing of the Klementinum was partly rebuilt and the wooden trusses of the Klementinum's clock tower and astronomical tower were renovated.

The second stage lasted five years and ended in 2017. It included work on the western wing at Křižovnická Street and two buildings in one of the courtyards. Sewerage and infrastructure was repaired in this phase.

The budget for the entire Klementinum renovation program is estimated at Kč 1.88 billion.

The decision to stay in the Klementinum effectively ends the discussion about a new building.

The National Library in 2006 had announced that a new library designed by architect Jan Kaplický would be built in Letná and be completed by 2012. The design, popularly called the Blob or the Octopus, caused an uproar, and many politicians became involved in stopping it.

The plan was dropped, and no other design was ever proposed.

Other architects from the design competition went to court, saying the winning design did not meet the contest specifications. 

The Court of Appeals decided in 2015 that the winning proposal should have been excluded for failure to comply with the competition conditions, and the Supreme Court upheld the decision. A total of Kč 3 million had to be paid to the losing architects to make up for the differences in prize money once the winner was excluded.

In June, though, City Councilor Jan Wolf (KDU-ČSL), responsible for culture, was still promoting the Blob idea as a multifunctional space with a gallery and theater, in addition to a library.

“Although the National Library has not shown interest in the building in the past, we expect 75 percent of the space to be used by the library. The rest of the site would be dedicated to the gallery and the theater,” Wolf said at the time.

Related link:

Related articles

Facebook comments

Pražské Benátky

Enjoy Prague from a different view

Ristorante Casa de Carli

Authentic Italian cuisine in Prague

The James Joyce Irish Pub

Best Irish Pub in Prague

Charles Bridge Museum

Discover the history of Prague’s famous Charles Bridge

Trabant Museum Prague

Trabant Museum @ STK Motol

Army Museum Žižkov

Armádní muzeum Žižkov

National Memorial to the...

Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády

Prague’s # 1 source for Czech news in English…

Digital lifestyle magazine platform promoting life in Prague.