CINiBA / HS99 - More Images+ 19

Katowice, Poland
CINiBA / HS99 - Facade
© Tomasz Zakrzewski 

Text description provided by the architects. 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.

CINiBA / HS99 - Facade, Windows
© 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.

CINiBA / HS99 - Stairs, Handrail, Steel, Beam
© 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.

CINiBA / HS99 - Brick, Facade
© 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.

CINiBA / HS99 - Image 22 of 24
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.

CINiBA / HS99 - Image 13 of 24
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.

CINiBA / HS99 - Stairs, Shelving, Table, Chair, Beam, Handrail
© Tomasz Zakrzewski 

Project gallery

See allShow less

Project location

Address:Bankowa 11, Katowice, Poland

Click to open map
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "CINiBA / HS99" 23 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© Jakub Certowicz


You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.