The original University of Warsaw Library had already reached its capacity in the 1930s. After the fall of the Soviet Union and Polish independence, a new building was desired. It was funded by renting out the old communist party building to the Financial Center and Polish Stock Exchange. in 1993 a competition was held and the winning project by Marek BudzyÅ„ski and Zbigniew Badowski was under construction from 1994 until 1999.
The building consists of two parts (total surface 60 000 square meters; surface of the Library 40 000 square meters): the front crescent-shape edifice assigned for commercial purpose (shops, cafes, offices) and the main 6-storeys high (2 underground levels - parking lot, shops, bowling center - temporarily rented, will accommodate the Library's storage in the future) building. Both parts are connected by a passage-way covered with a glazed roof. Reinforced concrete, glass and steel are distinctive features of the Library's architecture. Interior design is also very minimalist - all technical installations (air condition, pipes) are not hidden. A white suspended ceiling is used mostly in the reading areas because of acoustic reasons. The Library's furnishing, designed specially for the interior, is made from steel, glass and concrete, too. The dominating color is grey. Only the upper part becomes green (the glass-supporting construction). Other colors are painted by books and people. There are two entrances to the Library on the ground level - from the south and from the north. They lead to the passage where cloakrooms, exhibition hall, a restaurant and shops are situated.
The building of the Library is surrounded by green. The faÃ§ade carrying a huge elevated inscription 'BIBLIOTEKA UNIWERSYTECKA' is divided by 4 entrances leading to the passage. Under the inscription there are 8 big copper panels (4 to 7 meters) presenting the realm of knowledge, memory and writing. There are excerpts from Polish Renaissance poet Jan Kochanowski, from Plato, an old-Russian chronicle, from Arabic and Indian classics and from the Bible. There is a score by composer Karol Szymanowski (his works are in the collection of Music Collection) and a sample of mathematical formulas.
1990s (1990 - 1999) Postmodern
sitecast concrete construction steel frame construction structural glass
University of Warsaw Library (2011, November 1). From the website http://www.buw.uw.edu.pl/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=285&Itemid=91