STA, 20 May 2019 - Reviving the new national library project that has been in the planning stages since 1989 and last saw a seven-year hiatus, Education and Science Minister Jernej Pikalo signed on Monday an annex to the contract for the building's design documents. Estimating the entire project at EUR 50 million, Pikalo expects the funding sources will be mixed.
Signing the annex with the Bevk Perović architecture bureau, which won the competition for the new building in 2012, the minister did not wish to risk a prognosis on when NUK II, meant to supplement the existing library, would be built.
He said the annex was an important step, but added "we will only be happy when the building actually stands".
Pikalo, who hopes that the building permit can already be obtained next year, pointed out that the new National and University Library had already been in the making for years.
While the presently valid systemic act for the project was adopted in 1994, plans for the building, located on an archaeological site, go back even further.
In a 1989 competition the design of architect Marko Mušič was selected for the building, but later dismissed as outdated.
After almost EUR 30 million spent on preparations, the then government decided in 2009 to end all contracts related to the project and published an international competition in 2011, which was won by Bevk Perović Arhitekti.
The costs of the design documents amount to roughly EUR 2 million. With EUR 350,000 already paid for the conceptual design in 2013, the value of the annex singed today is about EUR 1.6 million, Pikalo said. EUR 200,000 were contributed by the Culture Ministry while the rest falls under the Education, Science and Sports Ministry.
The value of the entire project is EUR 50 million. Pikalo, who believes this is the start of a long but right path, said there were different possibilities of financing.
One would entail changes to the 1994 act, another option are EU funds and yet another the funds from the so called Juncker Plan or the European Fund for Strategic Investments. In the end, the sources are bound to be mixed, the minister announced.
Pikalo spoke of a dynamic and activities-based new library that would provide more room for exchange of views and for cooperation.
The 2012 jury described the Bevk Perović design as one that does not consider only the architectural and archaeological context of the building, but presents the new library as the focal point of the network of university facilities and the city's life as a whole.
Bearing in mind the needs of the majority users of the new library, students, the authors opened up the building to the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts, by placing the main entrance to the side of the building facing the faculty.
The other entrance to the library connects the building with the old National and University Library, built in 1941 on the basis of a design by Slovenia's most celebrated architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957).