The National Library of the Czech Republic competition entry

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Citation:, 2007
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This project was submitted for a competition in 2006 to design the new Prague National Library. The project was shortlisted in the competition. Faced with the challenge of designing a national institution for literary works for this country led to a reflection on the contribution made by key works in the history of Czech literature, the potential of the site itself and an analysis of the spatial and cultural modes of inhabiting the city. Archives contain secrets, histories yet to be challenged and re-presented. The idea of the archive is not situated in the preservation of this material however but in the moment of its opening up - of revealing, of bringing a new light to things that have lain still for so long, protected. This reading of the archive was considered in the context of Prague - a city of dark tucks and folds; the folds of valleys that protect a castle, dark histories over laying creativity. These are the secrets of an archive tucked under the corner of the velvet blanket of the park, clustered in the shadows made below the fold. Their existence is revealed via ruptures in the park's surface, while their potentiality emerges as each cracks open in the lightness of the moment. In this reading of the city and its transformation into a spatial response lies its significance to the discourse on the interrelation between building and place (Benjamin) and on the reconsideration of the library itself (Benjamin).
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