Zahradní Město Public Library – new chocolate in an old box

Written by Tomas Horava

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Prague´s Zahradní Město (“Garden City”) is one of Prague´s suburbs from late 60´: high rise boxes of apartments accompanied by small boxes of shops, restaurants and likewise. One of the small boxes contained a library, local branch of the Municipal Library of Prague. It consisted of three rooms only connected via double wing doors, the rest of the “box” being other facilities. The interior of the box was gray in both senses – colour and impression, the only exception was a nice skylight in the ceiling.

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The Zahradní Město area of Prague

In November 2019, the library was reopened after reconstruction – it expanded to the whole box, nearly 600 sqm. All separate rooms were united in the open floor plan (with the only exception of a quiet study room and a clubroom / hobbyroom), all on one level. The core of the open space is a small auditorium, the scene of community life: place for meeting, sitiing and reading, having a rest, or as a place for holding public events. The interior is dominated by the skylight with white umbrellas floating below. One can have a coffee and spend here a pleasant afternoon with newspapers, journals, notebook, friends. Small children can play in their “soft area”, older ones can find a quiet
corner in a reading den; pentagonal tower made of bookshelves hides a tiny secret place for small groups or, as often seen, mother reading for her kids. Children come to the library directly from the school and do their homeworks together, gathered around an eleptical table.

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Though most furniture equipment was designed especially for the library, it was made of simple materials and in an unsophisticated design.

So, the box got a new contents: the more austere it looks from the outside, the more surprising and joyful it looks inside.

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