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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. University
  4. Poland
  5. HS99
  6. 2011
  7. CINiBA / HS99


  • 01:00 - 23 October, 2012
CINiBA / HS99, © Jakub Certowicz
© Jakub Certowicz


  • Architects

  • Location

    Bankowa 11, Katowice, Poland
  • Design Team

    Dariusz Herman, Piotr Smierzewski, Wojciech Subalski
  • Structural Design

    Jan Filipkowski, Joanna Jacoszek, Jerzy Rawski, Mariusz Staszewski
  • Collaborators

    Rafal Sobieraj, Adam Kulesza, Jacek Moczała, Wojciech Słupczyński
  • Client

    Consortium of the University of Silesia and University of Economics in Katowice
  • Area

    2,910 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

© Tomasz Zakrzewski
© Tomasz Zakrzewski

From the architect. In 2002 a competition was launched by the University of Silesia for the design of a new library that would provide a world-class didactic facility for scientific research. The flexibility the winning proposal offered proved to be its major strength when, after securing a building permit, the program was modified to also include the collections of the University of Economics with no changes to the exterior form. The Scientific Information Centre and Academic Library (Polish acronym: CINiBA) anchors the new campus redevelopment plan to be implemented in the coming years.

© Jakub Certowicz
© Jakub Certowicz

Located at the intersection of the east-west axis that forms the spine of the campus, and the north-south axis which connects the recreational grounds by the river to land set aside for further university expansion, the library reinforces the axial organization which has so far been poorly articulated. A central university square at the foot of the library, the FORUM, generates a civic gathering place that opens onto the library’s grand three storey atrium.

© Tomasz Zakrzewski
© Tomasz Zakrzewski

The height of the library has been determined by the average height of buildings on the university campus. The north elevation surpassing this height is directed towards the FORUM and houses the library’s closed stacks. This elevation emphasizes the rank and function of the FORUM and is in dialogue with the existing tall buildings which close the east-west axis.

© Jakub Certowicz
© Jakub Certowicz

The facades, clad in a repetitious fabric of rich kahan red sandstone, relate to the raw clay bricks on the neighbouring buildings without the connotation of scale inherent to a singular brick element. The exterior treatment abstracts the building’s function of organized book storing while introducing a notion of mystery inseparably connected to books.

Courtesy of HS99
Courtesy of HS99

The lack of discernible scale produces a monolith when seen from afar that is gradually familiarized. Details such as the decreasing proportions of the façade tiling, the irregular cut of the sandstone slabs, as well as the windows carefully nested inside become visible.

Courtesy of HS99
Courtesy of HS99

The fenestration projects a stunning patchwork of light onto the FORUM at night, yet in the daytime allows diffused light to permeate into the library’s reading rooms. The resulting strongly introverted interior composition of the library floors focuses one’s attention onto the books while calming the space. Partial isolation from the external world not only influences the atmosphere within but also introduces a flow of time detached from the pulse of the surrounding city.

© Tomasz Zakrzewski
© Tomasz Zakrzewski
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "CINiBA / HS99" 23 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Phuong Hieu Nguyen · February 27, 2013

the building awakes the surrounding context. the color illuminates itself and seems to be originated from the local history.

Phuong Hieu Nguyen · February 27, 2013

the building awakes the surrounding context. the external color illuminates itself and seems to be originated from the local history.

quyet tran · February 26, 2013

good idea

Ewelina · February 26, 2013

super! jak dobrze widzie? tutaj ten budynek.. cho? raz mo?emy by? z czego? dumni przy takich plebiscytach. oby tak dalej. pozdrowienia dla HS99

martin silesian · February 22, 2013

Katowice is a SILESIAN city btw. Administration and financial centre of Silesia.

It's a pitty that investor didn't realised fully the project. There should be a pool in front of the library. It could look better with it.

Natalia · February 19, 2013

gratulacje!!! szkoda, ?e tak ma?o tak niesamowitych pere?ek powstaje w naszym kraju...

Pawe? Wach · February 17, 2013

aaaaaaaaah great!

tomasz tomaniak · February 15, 2013


Wojciech Witkowski · February 15, 2013

wonderful building, great architecture!

Alan D. · October 24, 2012

standout building! it seems really peaceful compared to a lot of the other posts on here recently. simply great materiality and detailing make it powerful.


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© Jakub Certowicz