The proposal for the NUK II National Library, designed by BARCODE Architects, presents a clever and pure univocal shape despite the great complexity of the given plot. By making the design compact and by moving volume from its base to the top, the building makes way and shows the characteristic ruins of Roman Emona on site, while at the same time this creates a public square along the important city junction. Prominently sited at a junction in the heart of perhaps the most important academic centre in Eastern Europe, the 20.000m2 project seeks to become a compelling architectural landmark. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The cantilevers created are aligned with the adjacent blocks to generate a uniform street view and a well-balanced townscape. The design marks a radical shift from traditional library structure. The building provides a public and open visitor experience, by framing public spaces between service layers of storage, work areas, and technical equipment. The multiple public routes cut through these service layers, and visitors are provided with compelling views into the functional components of the library. Climax of the routes are two roof terraces with breathtaking views of the famous Ljubljana castle, the roofscape of the city, and the Slovenian mountains beyond.
Two meters beneath ground level lay the unique ruins of the ancient Roman city Emona. The design shelters and protects these ruins in situ, and opens them in different ways to the public. In some places, glass plates provide a walkable surface through which passersby can experience stunning views on the ruins below. In other places walls and floors are yielding to give way to the ruins, creating a unique mix of old and new.
The aim of the design was to create a new quality of public life and social interaction for the citizens of Ljublijana and express an openness that includes all people and attracts new users; a vibrant place during day and night. BARCODE Architects: NUKII balances the desire to harmonise a new monument with its historical urban context with the potential to create a new and exciting library of the 21st century.
Architects: BARCODE Architects, in collaboration with Emiel Lamers & ABT
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Client: Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology
Stage: Competition design