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Design contest opens for Polish national library upgrade

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The National Library of Poland in Warsaw has launched an international design competition for its internal renewal

Backed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the project will transform the city centre landmark into a ‘modern, friendly and open place’ featuring new reading rooms, meeting areas, recreational spaces and facilities for children and older people.

Designed by Stanislaw Fijałkowski in 1963, the prestigious building – known locally as the Biblioteka Narodowa (BN) started on site in 1977 and only completed in 1998 after the collapse of communism.

The building – located in the city’s ‘Mokotów Field’ government district – now hosts around 7,900,000 volumes including 114,000 music prints; 400,000 drawings; and 101,000 atlases and maps.

According to the contract notice: ‘The progress of civilization and changing expectations of society – especially among the younger generation – makes it necessary to adapt existing public spaces to new tasks.

The document continued: ‘Given the BN must meet the broad needs of the reading public, contribute to the development of culture, allow access to different kinds and types of information – taking into account the needs of people with disabilities and provide opportunities to optimize the dissemination of knowledge – it is necessary to carry out changes in the functional and usable reading rooms BN and public spaces.’

Proposals will be judged 40 per cent on attractiveness and feasibility; 25 per cent on functionality; 20 per cent on the economy of materials; and 15 per cent on the response to the existing building.

Judges include chair Wojciech Hawryłkiewiczand architect Jakub Szczęsny who designed the world’s narrowest – house measuring just 122 centimetres across – in Warsaw.

The first and second prize winners will receive £8,500 and £5,100 respectively and participate in a negotiated procedure for the design contract. A third prize winner will take home around £1,700.

The competition language is Polish and the deadline for requests to participate is 12noon local time on 30 July.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Biblioteka Narodowa
al. Niepodległości 213
Contact point(s): jw.
For the attention of: Biuro ds. obsługi Sądu konkursowego, pokój nr 216
02-086 Warszawa

Tel: +48 226082481
Email: konkursarch@bn.org.pl




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Readers' comments (1)

  • For the sake of correctness of facts and indeed language. Szczesny did not design the "world's narrowest HOUSE". It was a structure, stuck between two buildings, which would not comply with any means of escape regulations and so cannot be called A HOUSE. A publicity stunt at best...

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