The Magic of the National Technical Library

In less than 8 months the National Technical Library in Prague 6 will open to the general public. Inconspicuously hidden in the middle of the Technical University campus, the building is remarkable for a number of technological and architectural details which are quite exceptional in the Czech Republic at present.


The most significant example of this is the power and energy supply system which has been designed and installed specifically to cope with the high demands of the building´s year-round operation.


What you can expect from new library

It is expected that the new library will draw up to 900,000 visitors every year. Apart from the National Technical Library, which is being moved here from the Klementinum, the new building will also house the Municipal Library now situated in Československé armády Street in Prague 6.


The architects and designers had to take these requirements into account so the design for the new library introduces a number of new features reflecting the need to cope with the demands of a busy library.


One of the features, for example, is the first use of an asphalt-based floor covering material, so-called ´bitu-terrazzo´, which is laid at 2000 C and which significantly reduces noise levels in the building. Another interesting design feature is the fire prevention system which will reduce damage to the library stock that would be caused by using water to put out a fire.


This is because the library is fitted with an automatic water mist-spraying fire extinguishing system which is more property/asset-protective, does not require a large-capacity storage vessel and facilitates the installation of the pipework system within the building.


Special design

A special design feature of the library is an energy-efficient building stressing a sensitive approach to environmental issues. The library itself is designed as a compact open-plan space with an interior spatial arrangement respecting the orientation of the building.


Large open rooms are situated along the south-east, south-west and north-west sides of the building, the office rooms are on the north-east side of the building. This arrangement helps to reduce the solar heat load and at the same time to provide more even daylight distribution within the building. The solid concrete constructions serve to accumulate heat or cold.


For ventilation it was decided to use a hybrid ventilation system which minimises mechanical ventilation and at the same time utilises natural ventilation with air input through windows during the transition period.


As the books and the library staff are now being moved into the new library, the work of the architects and designers is taking on its final shape. "It is not every day that we get a chance to work on such a unique project which will serve a large section of the general public.


We are very grateful to have the opportunity to work on the new technical library. We hope that the building will provide visitors with a modern and pleasant environment for study or relaxation and a working environment for the library staff that is appropriate for the 21st century," said Ing. Petr Jileček, the Deputy Head Designer for the library project from Helika.


Special services

The National Technical Library will be ceremonially opened on 9 September 2009. Library users will have access to over 1,200 seats in study areas and 300 seats in relaxation areas. It is estimated that the library stores about 1.2 million volumes.


There will also be private and communal study rooms, a cafe with 150 seats, 250 computers for use by visitors, WiFi internet access throughout the building, parking for 300 cars and stands for 200 bicycles.


Design, architecture and engineering company Helika has been active in the Czech construction and building development market since 1990. Within a short period Helika became a joint-stock company and established itself as a leading design, architecture and engineering company in the building and transport construction fields.


In May 2004 HELIKA expanded its activities to Slovakia, opening a branch in Bratislava. In June 2007 the company became part of the international Obermeyer Group, which is involved in architecture and construction design in a number of countries around the world.


Other completed projects

The most important recently completed projects include reconstruction of the Czech National Bank headquarters building, construction of the multifunctional Chodov Centre in Prague-South, construction of the Surgery Unit in the Military Hospital in Prague Stresovice, reconstruction of Motol Teaching Hospital for Children, construction of Zelene Udoli housing estate in Prague Kunratice and the multifunctional Sazka Arena sports centre in Prague Vysocany.


Helika is also the head designer for Nova Karolina, a project for the development of a 1,000-hectare area in Ostrava City centre, and the architect and head designer for the construction of a hospital and a cathedral in Libreville, the capital of Gabon.