Prague Twin

Monday, May 28, 2007

Czech Library

Here you see the winning design for the new Czech National Library. It has caused a bit of a stir amongst Prague residents, many of whom are vehemently opposed to anything that looks like it was created after 1900. Most recently, Czech architects have defended the design.

I'm curious. What do you all think?

Beautiful? Ugly? Amazing? Horrendous?

Personally, I kind of like it, but I'm not sure if it fits in Prague.

UPDATE: Here is a good areal view of the location. (Scroll down a bit)



  • The library looks like a cross between Sponge Bob and Casper the Friendly Ghost.

    The design is compelling, but it seems as though Martians intend to drop the building into a 19th-century neighborhood. When the constrast with existing architecture reaches such extreme levels, much of the appeal is lost.

    I can think of several examples in NY City. Buildings with no connection to their surroundings, with contrast so extreme it is imposssible to appreciate them.

    One comes to mind. On the corner of 9th Avenue and west 16th street in Manhattan. The building has a smooth white skin and round windows, designed to suggest the portholes of a ship. Instead of evoking maritime images, the building looks like a massive slice of white Swiss Cheese -- or a white Sponge Bob -- amid a number of much shorter brick and block buildings in the hot and trendy Chelsea neighborhood.

    Footnote. Perhaps the gods took their revenge on the architect of this monstrosity. He lives in New Orleans where his home was severly damaged by Katrina.

    By Blogger no_slappz, at 4:07 PM  

  • When it comes to Czechs, expect the unexpected. First reaction is, of course, "too weird", but, once you think of the unusual architecture that already exists in the Czech Republic, maybe it's not so weird. First, I wonder where exactly is this structure to be erected? If it is not in Old Town proper, perhaps, like the wiggly house it could find its place. Think how much fun children would have going into a building like that. When you think about it, isn't that what the point? To fire up young people and encourage them to read? Perhaps a little modification is in order...

    By Anonymous rockync, at 6:34 PM  

  • Mike,
    When I showed the picture to my Wife her first comment was "OMG". I like old style architecture myself. My first thought was that I was having a flash back or the architect was on acid.

    God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

    By Blogger David Schantz, at 11:10 PM  

  • You know... I like it.

    Sort of reminds me of a creature from Monster's Inc., but therein is the hook. It's a challenging design, and I like challenging.

    But for a library...the key, IMHO, is lots of light or very little natural light. On the one hand, light and airy as we have here in Babylon by the Bay (ugly building but wonderful natural light) is great. On the other, low an indirect, intimate as in the NYC Public Library's famous 'reading room'.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:57 AM  

  • PT,

    It's very compelling and ingenuous, but it doesn't seem like it fits. Plus, lighting looks like it'd be a problem. I guess I'm just used to my library which has lots of sky-lights, big windows, ect. Natural lighting makes it feel more fresh, spacious, and good for learning. Though, there is certainly a historical basis for dim, dreary learning areas too.

    I'll show it to my brother (architecture student) and see if there'd be enough natural light.

    Other than that, it looks like a building straight out of Dr. Seuss, which is rather literary.

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 2:14 AM  

  • Thanks for all the thoughful comments everyone.

    The consensous is: "hey, give it a chance!"


    nice to hear from you again. Any chance you will start blogging again?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:07 AM  

  • PT,

    "Any chance you will start blogging again?"

    I'm seriously considering it. I'm even considering trying to create a new Blogger account and copying and pasting my old template onto the new blog. Haven't settled one way or another yet. First I'm going to see if I can comment "regularly." If I can keep up with you and my other test blog, then I'll look to posting again.

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 2:13 PM  

  • That's the ugliest thing I've seen in a long time.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 2:50 PM  

  • Mutant Swiss Cheese

    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 5:06 PM  

  • Antonio Gaudi turned science fiction fantasy illustrator. It will be distinctive, but I'm surprised it's not a NIMBY building.

    By Blogger Publia, at 9:10 PM  

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