The Black Cube will come alive, the Moravian-Silesian scientific library will be built according to this design

Bringing to life the Black Cube by the architects Ladislav Kuba and Tomáš Pilař and constructing a modern building for the Moravian-Silesian Scientific Library opposite the Ostrava Cultural Centre in the heart of the region’s capital — the Region’s councillors have agreed to the project!

Construction of the new building for the Moravian-Silesian Scientific Library should start in 2020 and is scheduled for completion two years later. Costs are expected to be around CZK 1.35 billion. Funding will be provided jointly by the Moravian-Silesian Region (CZK 150 million) and the city of Ostrava (CZK 150 million), and the largest part will be covered by subsidies from the Ministry of Culture (CZK 800 million). These three institutions are about to sign a memorandum of cooperation.

“The regional coalition’s aim is to ensure that the Moravian-Silesian Scientific Library has a proper home and adequate facilities so it is no longer forced to survive under makeshift conditions and can become a true hub of knowledge in the 21st century. We deliver on our promises. This is why the entire Black Cube project will be revived, including the body of water surrounding the building. We will certainly remember to include plenty of parking spaces,”  said Governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region Ivo Vondrák, adding that the outside of the building should have the same appearance as that proposed in the design by the Kuba & Pilař architects twelve years ago. “However, there will be significant changes to the interior. The design needs to be reworked to meet the current needs of this educational institution in the digital age.”

Deputy Governor for Culture Lukáš Curylo believes that the Moravian-Silesian Scientific Library has great potential for growth but needs a better location and space. “Our vision is to build a new and intelligent library and breathe life into it. The Moravian-Silesian Library in Ostrava will become a modern information, communications, and technological hub. The library will offer both off-line and on-line media and be a node in knowledge networks, as well as serve as a social point for meeting and communication,” he said.

Despite its current, improvised conditions, the Deputy Governor pointed out that the library already creates new educational programmes and teaches information and digital literacy. Librarians also fulfil roles as information coaches. “The library’s current options and services to residents will develop and expand at the new premises,” he continued.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2020. “It will take a while for the architects to update the design. The original design documentation for the Black Cube does not meet the requirements for a building permit to be issued, so we need to add some time to arrange all compulsory particulars.”

Director of the Moravian-Silesian Scientific Library Libuše Foberová is confident that after sixty-seven years at the New Townhouse in Ostrava, readers will appreciate the comfortable environment where everything — 1.2 million volumes — will be available to them. “The library intends to provide services for the 21st century and become a community and educational hub. This is much more than simply storing all its books under one roof. We aim to establish the library as a creative space for people to meet in. We will become a digital library with digital services. The Black Cube project is a guarantee of this kind of space,” she said.

The Moravian-Silesian Scientific Library has been operating at the rented premises of the New Townhall in Prokešovo náměstí in Ostrava since 1951. Around 900 people visit the library every day. The area for book lending and study and the basement storage rooms (with excessive moisture and media cabling running through it) do not meet the needs of this many visitors. The changerooms and social amenities for clients and library staff are also completely inadequate. The library’s storage capacity is exceeded, and most of the library’s collections are stored elsewhere than the New Townhall. This makes the library’s operation complicated and costly, and its collections cannot be made available by free selection due to the restricted space.

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