Updated 21.12.2020

Moravian-Silesian Research Library

The Moravian-Silesian Research Library is currently situated in premises at Ostrava’s city hall. It is used daily by around 900 people, but the premises are too small to handle this number of readers. The basement storage rooms and technical premises also suffer from damp. The storage capacity has already been exhausted, so new acquisitions to the library’s stocks are stored at different locations; this creates substantial complications for the library’s staff. The “Black Cube” – as the proposed new library building is known – will offer ample space for all the library’s stocks (which currently total around 1.2 million items). Director Libuše Foberová explains the library’s plans: “Our ambition is to provide 21st-century services and to become a valuable educational and community hub. It’s not only about being able to keep all our books under one roof; our aim is also to make the library a creative space where people can meet. We will become a digital library with digital services. The Black Cube project is a guarantee that we will be able to achieve these goals.”

The new library will be located on 28. října Street, opposite the City of Ostrava Cultural Centre.

 

The history of the “Black Cube” project

In 2006 the architects Kuba and Pilař created a design for the new library which became known as the “Black Cube”. Two years later, the Moravian-Silesian Region announced a tender for the construction work, but the bids were far in excess of the expected costs, so the original plans were shelved. The design was reworked to substantially reduce costs. However, in 2010 the newly elected Czech government revoked its predecessor’s decision to co-finance the project, and work came to a halt. In 2015 the Black Cube project was abandoned entirely, but the Moravian-Silesian Region was still determined to build a new library, so it began considering other options for the building. A turning-point came in 2018 when the original Black Cube project was resurrected and a memorandum was signed agreeing on co-financing for the project: the Region committed to provide 400 million CZK, the state 800 million, and the City of Ostrava 150 million.

 

The current situation

In 2019 the Kuba & Pilař studio was instructed to rework the original plans for the Black Cube. The building will cost approximately 1.35 billion CZK and will include a parking garage. According to the new plans, work on the building is set to begin in 2021, and it is scheduled for completion in 2023 or 2024.

In March 2020 the Moravian-Silesian Region submitted an application for approval of the site of the building, and the land use permit process began in August 2020.

 

The Moravian-Silesian Research Library and the Black Cube in the media (in Czech)