Slovenia has been planning an extension to the National and University Library (NUK) for decades, but now NUK II, as the project is known, is to come to life at last with construction set to begin in 2023.
Visiting NUK on 29 November, Prime Minister Robert Golob and Education Minister Igor Papič said a building permit was expected to be issued shortly after a €1.6 million utility charge was paid last week.
The project, which is slated for completion in 2026, is valued at €102 million, double the estimate in 2019 when the revival of NUK II was last announced after a seven-year hiatus.
Golob told reporters that funding for NUK II would be sought in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. “We’re talking of loans and an opportunity that hasn’t been seized yet,” he said.
He stressed that libraries are important for the development of a nation. They are not only a place for reading and learning, for building personalities and acquiring knowledge, but also a place to meet and discover new ideas.
NUK II will be built on a plot between Zoisova, Slovenska and Emonska roads that now serves as a parking lot. It will be located diagonally to the original NUK, which was built in 1941 to the design of architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957).
The design of NUK II, by the architectural firm Bevk Perović, was picked in an international competition in 2012 after the previous solution was abandoned, having become outdated.
Architect Matija Bevk says NUK II will be a platform for modern education and communication that will become one of the key points of the University of Ljubljana, and will be closely connected to the city.
It will provide 1,400 study and 1,500 user places, with the main element being be a large reading room extending over several floors, referencing to Plečnik’s iconic reading room in NUK.