National Library, Pristina

The building by Croatian architect Andrija Mutnjakoviç, inaugurated in 1982, projects a heroic image of itself in a Pristina devastated by years of war. Design Andrija Mutnjakoviç.

A press photographer has captured the power of this immense pyramid of cubes, covered in 99 glass domes. This symbol of contemporary architecture in the Balkans guards an important literary heritage with the iconic power of a mosque, hamam or fort.

In terms of form, the library was conceived through a rigorously geometric approach. It is based on a squareshaped plan and develops upwards in a regular succession of cubes with a total floor area of 16,500 m2.

According to some scholars, the building, with its 99 white domes, recalls the historic architecture of the Hamam by Gazi Mehmed Pa sha in Prizren or the Patriarchate in Pec. The solid structure in reinforced concrete is completely covered in a large-meshed metal grid that also acts as a sunscren.

More can be seen on Balkan architecture in the itinerant exhibition "Balkanology", showing in Basel from 4 October to 28 December 2008. It has been organised by the Schweizerisches Archiekturmuseum in Basel with the Vienna Architekturzentrum, directed by Francesca Ferguson and curated by Kai Vöckler. Catalogue by Christoph Merian Verlag and Sam , 2008 ( See also Kai Vöckler 's book, with Archis Interventions, Prishtina Is Everywhere. Turbo Realism: the Aftermath of a Crisis, Archis Publishers (English edition), Parthas Verlag (German edition), 2008.

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