Superior acoustics with a dramatic appearance

This interesting library, designed by Happach architects is situated in an area of Warsaw where, in recent years, the City Council has begun revitalisation of the Lubliniec valley. This is the cultural and natural location in which the most important public spaces of the city are located.

Ceilings with Troldtekt acoustic panels in cultural buildings
Photo: Piotr Skorek Photolicious

Continuing the cultural theme, of which the Library is an important part, Warsaw’s city authorities recently revealed the winner of a competition to redesign the central square in front of the City’s Palace of Culture and Science. Here, the City wants to make a place in which residents and visitors alike will enjoy spending time, regardless of the season. With greenery, new buildings and an attractive cultural programme, Defilad Square will have an important social function role, making Warsaw’s city centre more attractive.

The Library is near the riverside and has been designed to maximise views of the castle and the water from its more important rooms. The southern part of the site emphasises the scenic views and recreational use of the waterside with retaining walls and terraces stepping down towards the river. The building in brick references the old distillery and farm which previously existed on the site and was destroyed during the Second World War. These buildings were originally part of the castle and later became a psychiatric hospital.

The Library is a perfect example of a building where its function is fully concentrated on its internal purpose. This is to house large quantities of books and reference materials in different reading and study rooms constantly used by Warsaw citizens. To relieve its introvert function, large areas of window cast bright light deep into some the rooms. 

As with any library, good acoustics are essential. This is achieved by large areas of ceiling lined with Troldtekt wood wool panels. In some rooms, these are married with vertical baffles which help create a dramatic three-dimensional appearance on the ceiling. Elsewhere, the ceilings feature configurations of hexagonal-shaped lighting joined together to cast evenly distributed light.

Together, Marlena Happach and her husband Marek led the H2 Architekti design office that specialised in the design of public buildings which included the creation of the library in Lubliniec. Subsequently, Marlena Happach has become Chief Architect for the City of Warsaw, director of the city’s Office for Architecture.