Department of non-fiction literature of the Municipal Library of Senec

concept scheme
concept – axonometry
construction scheme
segmentation scheme
construction process
construction process
construction process

About the architectural concept for the interior of the Department of Non-Fiction Literature of the Municipal Library of Senec, which is located in the premises of the Municipal Cultural Centre building.

The space is in the Municipal Cultural Centre – originally a modernist cultural building which was reconstructed in 2006. After partitions were removed, a longitudinal space with horizontal windows and a skeletal load-bearing system was allocated to the new department of non-fiction literature. Since 15,000 volumes had to be stored in an area of 150 m2, the main challenge of this project was to come up with a solution that did not fill the entire space with bookshelves. The library needed a quiet study room, a space for working on computers and an open space where smaller events (up to 30 people) can be organized. The basic element of the interior is a curved bookshelf which runs through and defines all of these areas. The place with the largest radius is the reading zone with good lighting and a view over the town – this is a place for public events. The spaces enclosed by a smaller radius serve as a computer workstation and a quiet study. These areas are also separated from the reading room and the window and illuminated by artificial lighting. They are meant for focused work. The curved shelf is 2 meters tall with a capacity of 8,000 books. An additional 9,000 books will be placed in built-in shelves running down the entire height of the wall along three peripheral walls of the space. A library desk of the same material as the rounded bookshelf is also part of this department.

Locksmith products (pivot entrance door, built-in shelves, curved shelf, seating window sill, lintel lining and air-conditioning piping from bent perforated sheet, library desk)

Paradoxically, a relatively heavy 5 mm thick steel sheet proved to be suitable material for achieving the impression of subtle and visually light shelves with good workability. Based on workshop specifications, all segments were laser cut and then welded together like a puzzle in a locksmith’s workshop. The original idea to weld the shelves on the spot was dropped – each piece was divided into segments which were welded in the workshop and then only screwed in place. The statics of the installation were difficult to resolve. The existing ceiling made of precast concrete panels would have been able to carry the maximum weight of the empty shelves (6.5t). However, when filled with books, the rack doubles its original weight. Therefore, it was necessary to transfer the weight directly to the concrete skeleton. The structural engineer designed a grate made of steel profiles, anchored in existing columns. The rack does not lie on the grate over the entire surface of the area, but only in certain places – the weight of the rack is transferred to the grate through 8 steel bases. Thanks to the vertical segments, the welded shelf acts as a spatial beam.

The curved shelf and library desk are sprayed with yellow polyurethane paint. The built-in shelves, the entrance door, the windowsill and the lintel lining are grey.

Surfaces (exposed reinforced concrete skeleton, lime-cement plastering on the walls and ceiling, linoleum glued onto the cavity floor)

The height of the floor has been raised by 18 cm due to the steel grate, the top linoleum walking layer is glued onto the cavity flooring of calcium-sulphate panels. The space between the old floor and the new elevated floor is used to run wiring. The structure of the original skeleton (columns and lintels) was cleaned of plaster and given a penetration coating. Exposed material of the construction reveals to perceptive visitors the bearing system of the building and is also related to other elements of the interior. The lime-cement plastering was applied by hand, the trowel marks are visible by design. The intention was not to paint over the plaster but to show the craftsmanship.

Lighting, air conditioning, furniture

The space is illuminated by circular lights, which are distributed based on the zones formed by the curved shelf. Spotlights (placed in the system bar peripherally around the space) are used to illuminate the built-in wall shelves. The lights are controlled by switches built into the library desk.

Black circular air conditioning units are anchored into the ceiling. The coolant is distributed through an atypical profile of bent perforated sheet, and connections to drain condensation are visible. Furniture consists of round tables on aluminium bases and plastic chairs with chrome bases.

Curtain (Danica Pistekova)

The curtain underlines the idea of a window sill meant for sitting and creates bays for different numbers of visitors and various degrees of intimacy (for two/three/four). It also partially controls the lighting conditions in the interior, creating a membrane of translucent gradient between the inside and the outside. The double traverse rod allows easy handling (to create bays) or draw the entire curtain shut without any seating.


Structural engineer: Ivan Tatala

Curtain design: Danica Pistekova

Photographers: Pavel Meluš and Juraj Marko

Investor: Municipal Cultural Centre of Senec

Location: Námestie 1. Mája 2, Senec

Area: 150 m2

Construction cost: 120,000 €

Study and design: 2018

Realization: 2019