Lublin libraries leading the way in stunning design and sustainability
A library in Lublin is celebrating after being awarded for its interior design at the prestigious European Property Awards.
Designed by GK-Atelier Grzegorz Kłoda, Biblioteka na Poziomie first opened in 2018 instantly making waves for its pioneering solutions.
Defined by its open character and natural light, the library sought to escape from tradition by turning its back on traditional vertical dividers to instead promote feelings of transparency.
Making generous use of glass and wood, the facility has repeatedly won plaudits for its contemporary styling, with its design also featuring intriguing mezzanine elements, computer stations, easy-to-reach books, a relaxation zone and, also, a raised children’s area arrayed with illuminated seating, soft carpets and pouffes.
Speaking about the centre’s award, Beata Stepaniuk-Kuśmierzak, the Deputy Mayor for Culture, Sport and Participatory Activities, said: “The popularity of this branch has demonstrated that a professional and modern architectural design that takes into account the needs of local residents really does have an impact on how many people choose to visit a library.”
Distinctly non-standard, this is not the first time that this library has come to the public’s attention – in 2019 it finished runner-up in an online poll in the Public Interiors category of the 11th Annual Polish Architecture XXL Plebiscite.
However, architect Grzegorz Kłoda has, seemingly, surpassed his own achievements with his most recent project. Debuting last week, Bioteka has been hailed in some quarters as representing the future face of libraries, and as a place in which “culture meets the sustainable lifestyle.”
Also located in Lublin, this time a stone’s throw from the elegant Saski Gardens and award-winning Center for the Meeting of Cultures, the collection in this latest facility includes 18,000 books, 9,000 audiobooks and approximately 7,000 films and music albums.
Costing an estimated 1.6 million złotys, Klodka has since revealed he was directly inspired by the restoration of the nearby park: “We decided that the interiors of the newly designed library would be its natural continuation, which is why we used a lot of wood, concrete and greenery."
Positioned in what was once the cult PRL eatery Karczma Słupska, the transformation has been staggering with space inside the 400 sq/m set aside for art exhibitions, a chillout zone and a kid’s area bristling with friendly, animal-shaped seats.
Adapted to the needs of wheelchair users, and featuring no shortage of materials for the visually impaired, the new generation facility has also set aside room for a soundproofed board games room and multimedia presentations.
Striking in its look, images of the library have quickly spread online since first being released. Visually enticing, Kłoda’s masterpiece gathers a preponderance of raw materials to offset them against soothing ‘walls of water’, moss-clad walls and islands of greenery.
This, stresses Kłoda, is more than just a surface detail. “It was important that ‘green’ wasn’t just present in Bioteka in the form of its interior design,” says the architect.
“When restrictions are lifted, there’ll be large-scale pro-environmental education classes conducted here aimed at all ages. Moreover, there’ll also be plenty of green ideas promoted such as ‘plant-swapping’.”
Simple in its philosophy, the idea envisions users bringing unwanted houseplants in exchange for others that have been left behind.
“Above all, we wanted Bioteka to be a modern pharmacy for the spirit,” he says. “And in these new, difficult times, that’s certainly needed.”