Team of experts to decide on new National Library building
The ongoing controversy over a planned new National Library building in Prague has come to something of a head; the conflicting sides have agreed that an expert team should determine whether the futuristic building should be built on the location that was originally chosen, and if so, whether the design should be modified to fit the historic environment. Within some two or three months, the 'Team National Library' consisting of architects, preservationists and lawyers, is expected to come up with a final proposal for the location of 'the Blob'.
"Both of us are at the moment seeking a solution to the fundamental questions: what should happen with the new National Library building, what it should look like, and where it should be. The expert team will also have three working groups; one of the will focus on architecture, the second will deal with monument care and the third with legal issues."
"It is important for the new National Library not to be pushed out into Prague's periphery; it should also comply with the three basic criteria - it must not be built in any flooded area; it must have good transport accessibility; and should be in the wider city centre."
The optimism is not shared by all. I asked architectural historian Zdenek Lukes if he thought the 'Team National Library' is a good move on the way towards the new National Library building.
"I am afraid not. Everything had been clearly prepared without any problems. In the whole process, there was one very small problem with the building lot because the plan of Letna plain had been prepared before the new tunnel was incorporated in it. That's why they said that the library must be moved a little. But this is not a problem; this is something that's not important, I think; and it could be done without any problems. That's why that new ideas of finding a new location for the building... where? It's very difficult."