Prague (Czech Republic)
Year: 2009


  • Grand Prix Architects (2010)

Building description

The National Library of Technology (NTK) is the largest and the oldest library of science and technology literature in the Czech Republic, with a collection of over 1.5 million volumes.

The NTK was conceived not just to provide the campus with a library, but also a meeting place for students. The building’s four entrances - one at each cardinal point - create a vivid walk-through ground floor, whose entry hall functions as a public “square”. Also offering an exhibition and a conference hall, the library has become a focal point of the campus.

Many innovative strategies were implemented to make the library an energy-efficient and environmental friendly building. A concrete core activation system is used to heat and cool the building. Plastic piping is embedded in the slabs and filled with a temperature-variable water/glycol medium. This system perfectly suits the large open space of the interior. The building can be pre-cooled during summer months via natural ventilation through operable windows.

The façade is divided into glazed and solid segments in a near 50/50 ratio in order to optimise solar reflection/absorbtion. Thanks to an external double façade, the sunblinds are sheltered from the wind. The ground floor material is an asphalt-based floor covering (bitu-terrazzo) that significantly reduces noise levels in the building. The roof is covered with plants, for water-retention, slowing down roof drainage during heavy rains. Many construction elements are knowingly shown so users can better understand how the building is designed and functions.

Moveable furniture was designed to give users a sense of freedom. Students can move the pieces to create their own seating, reinforcing the primary design objective: collaboration and reciprocal influence.

© Andrea Lhotáková

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