The historical building in 26 Koszykowa Street is the seat of a Public Library established almost a hundred years ago for the capital city of Warsaw. In 2007 this institution will be celebrating its round anniversary. Created in 1907 thanks to the initiative of the Public Library Society, it has been almost uninterruptedly gathering and rendering available scientific collections and the belles lettres. From 1914 it is housed in an object erected due to the funds and efforts of Eugenia Kierbedz, born Kierbedz, the daughter of Stanislaw, an outstanding communications engineer and the author of the first permanent bridge across the Vistula in Warsaw. The Library was designed by acclaimed architects: Jan Heurich Junior and his collaborators - Wladyslaw Marconi and Artur Gurney. The building is composed of the two-storey main part which occupies the whole width of the front of the lot, and a single-storey outbuilding in the back, connected by means of a narrow and also one-story passage, perpendicular to the north-south axis. The most representative is the front fragment and the passage built on a ground plan similar to the letter T, which originally served predominantly library purposes. It still houses the large reading room featuring lavish architectural outfitting, harmoniously corresponding to the monumental facade which refers to the principles of Classical architecture. The outbuilding adjoining the passage and granted two wings of different width and height (on the ground plan of the letter L) formerly contained book storerooms, which burnt down during the second world war. Almost from its very outset the Library has been forced to tackle assorted problems involving available space. Successive postwar transformations (such as the erection of a new reading rooms building on the spot of a non-extant house in 28 Koszykowa Street) managed to meet the constantly growing needs of this institution for only a brief space of time. This is the reason why despite numerous failures, up to this day the Library has not resigned from efforts to expand and modernise its facilities. The results of a competition organised by SARP have been announced in December 2005. First prize for a conception of enlarging the Library went to the Bulanda, Mucha Architekci Sp. z o.o. studio. The adaptation of the Library buildings complex will be carried out in stages, and its completion is foreseen for 2007. Will it be conducted with due respect for the historical substance, or shall it assume the form of a successful integration of the new with the old; finally, will it add splendour to the anniversary of the hundred-years old institution? We still do not know the answer.
mgr, absolwentka Instytutu Zabytkoznawstwa i Konserwatorstwa Wydziału Sztuk Pięknych UMK w Toruniu, jest pracownikiem Działu Badań Zabytków Warszawy i Mazowsza Krajowego Ośrodka Badań i Dokumentacji Zabytków.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.