atakarchitekti transformed a former rectory building and areal into a new community center that houses a library, multifunctional hall, club space, and a maternity centre. The substantial programme asked for an extension of the rectory building – the architects responded with a dark monolith that reacts to its context – the historic building it extends and the château garden that surrounds it.
A suitable place for the new town library was the unused house of the Roman Catholic rectory, in the past also used as an orphanage, kindergarten and vocation school. In addition to the library, the municipality intended to place a multifunctional hall, facilities for clubs and a maternity centre in the house. The former rectory could not accommodate all the functions, so it was decided to extend the building with an extension.
The idea of the design is to create a new public place that will connect to the existing vibrant center of Vratislavice, defined by public buildings and the château garden. A new piazzetta is being created, inspired by the rhythm of small squares in the vicinity of the public buildings.
The original character of the old house has been retained – its deep foundations have allowed for a semi-recessed floor to be created by weighing off the ground. The excavation allowed daylight in through generous portals and the excavated pit formed the base of the new plaza.
The ground floor has been given over to clubs and the upper floor to the children’s library. On the west side, the rectory is complemented by the contemporary-styled library structure. Both buildings are connected in the basement and also by a bridge on the first floor. Its size, shape and location are based on the context of the château garden and the rectory, as well as the tree protection zones and infrastructure network lines. The result is a building with a narrow, compact three-story upper part and a two-story basement.
The library is integrated into the above-ground floors of the extension, whose open space principle accommodates a reception area with a terrace on the ground floor, a first-floor gallery and a reading room under an arched roof. The underground floors house a multifunctional hall with a small lobby and a cloakroom in a vestibule linking the two buildings, creating a common entrance area.
Through the large glass walls on the ground and upper floors, the library makes the most out of the views of the château garden. In the reading room, the contact with trees through the panoramic window is so close that readers feel like they are sitting inside the tree crowns.
The exposed concrete and the brick and stone masonry of the interior are softly lined with wooden sedilia and bookshelves. These create all sorts of hiding places and nooks where the visitor can constantly discover something new.
Studio: atakarchitekti – www.atakarchitekti.com
Author: Jiří Janďourek, Ondřej Novák
Studio address: 8. března 21/13, 460 05 Liberec, Czech Republic
Co-author: Jana Janďourková Medlíková
Project location: Nad Školou 342, 463 11 Liberec – Vratislavice nad Nisou
Project country: Czech Republic
Project year: 2018
Completion year: 2021
Built-up Area: 590 m²
Gross Floor Area: 1550 m²
Usable Floor Area: 1247 m²
Plot size: 852 m²
Dimensions: 6446 m3
Cost: 3 440 000 €
Client Liberec – Vratislavice nad Nisou
Photographer: Tomáš Souček
Construction engineer: David Mareček
Graphic design: Jan Stolín