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Prague Leads the Way

A sneak peek at the built future

Prague Leads the Way


February 14th, 2008

London design and architecture firm Future Systems continue to challenge traditional preconceptions of space, bringing contemporary forms to new contexts, this time within a large green site on the Letna plateau in Prague.

Future System’s curvy design for the New National Library of the Czech Republic references the city’s baroque heritage, with a modern skin of champagne-coloured anodised aluminium tiles becoming lighter as they rise to the top of the structure.

While the form appears futuristic, it is based on a desire to maximise light and views whilst minimising volume. Placed on a white unpolished marble platform, the 40,000m2 building looks over the surrounding tree level, and includes a top-level viewing platform and café with spectacular vistas.

Circular areas of glazing are distributed over the external skin of the structure to provide generous levels of natural light to the reading rooms, internal thoroughfares and the park situated within the building.

The library is due to open in 2011, and will be one of the most modern libraries in the world, with an estimated volume of 10 million books stored underground, to be distributed by an automated storage and retrieval system and reach the reader in less than five minutes.


Photo: Gidon Fuehrer for model photography.

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