A quarter of a century of “the glass cube”
On this day 25 years ago, 28 May 1995, the National and University Library in Zagreb moved into the building that it is currently located in, the so-called “glass cube”, as the Library is frequently referred to in architectural terms. Also evoking the famous verses of the great Croatian poet Tin Ujević, this “crystal cube of serenity” was designed by distinguished Croatian architects Velimir Neidhardt, Davor Mance, Zvonimir Krznarić and Marijan Hržić, who during this major culturally significant national construction project were inspired by the vision of the 21st-century library.
The Library’s relocation from its previous building, the art nouveau beauty in Marko Marulić Square today housing the Croatian State Archives, marked a wider opening to its users of the Library’s collections and resources, which currently include over 3.5 million items, occupying 12,900m of shelves in open access reading rooms and 110,000m of mobile shelves in closed stacks. The Library proved worthy of such enlargement as a national and university library not only by better performing its traditional tasks and increasing the quality of its standard services, but also by using it as an opportunity to stimulate the advancement of Croatian librarianship in terms of placing its focus on the development of innovation and creative use of digital technologies, the latest result of which is the successful work of its Digital Laboratory, NSK DigiLab, which recently moved into new offices.
Half a century passed between the appearance of the first initiatives for erecting the Library’s current building and its opening in 1995. Its construction started in 1988, with the laying of the cornerstone on 5 May, and was completed only recently, in December 2019, shortly after which the Library became the proud seat of Croatia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Photo by: Tibor God.