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Panevėžys County Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė Public Library

Saulius JuskysLithuania

The library is known for its exceptional architecture – after the reconstruction, the old buildings and the new extensions of the library complex are combined in such a way as to harmonize different – historic and new – architectural expressions. The architect Saulius Juškys has been awarded the National Culture and Art Prize of Lithuania for achieving harmony between contemporary architecture and historical environment.
The library can hold 700 000 items of publications, 200 000 visits are recorded annually. The library is named after Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė, a famous Lithuanian author, public figure, teacher of the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

Year of completion: 
2006
Address: 

Respublikos st. 14,
LT-35184 Panevezys

Size of library: 
5000m²
Category of library: 
Architectural idea or principle: 

The complex of library buildings include two old buildings, a fragment of the third building and two extensions. After the reconstruction the internal area has expanded from 1000 m2 to 5000 m2. The architect turned the external wall of the former building into an interior detail preserving the former historic building and combining it with innovations. Multicoloured wall of the library interior is the imitation of the backs of books, a combination of the old and the new.

The old buildings are related to the historical past of Panevėžys. In one of them, in the period between 1880 and 1930, there were located the first printing house in Panevėžys and a bookshop, there was published the first town newspaper. Between 1932 and 1941 there was located Panevėžys state public library. The other building was constructed in 1920 for social purposes. It was a Neoclassical building with monumental forms and splendid decor.

The old buildings were restored keeping to heritage protection requirements – there were preserved the facade and the size, as well as the fragments of historic architecture: shapes of windows and staircase, details of decoration, vaulted brick ceiling in the computer classroom, a fragment of staircase in the basement.

The most impressive interior opens in the inner courtyard of the building. Standing one in front of the other, the Neoclassical building and the new extensions are connected with a terrace. The entrance to the terrace is from the semicircular staircase of the old building. The inner courtyard is covered with a pitched glass roof. Straight on the roof of the old building there is located a reading room – through the glass roof comes the sunlight, other premises can be seen. Awnings protect against sun.

The most dominating and eye-catching is the facade of the Neoclassical building of the beginning of the 20th century. On the right side abuts the new four-storey building serving as a background and contrasting with the orderly symmetry and solemnity of the first building. The view from the left side is the most diverse – in one line stand the facade of the former printing house, the new annex, the narrow facade of the former synagogue and a fragment of the remained brick wall – the height, proportions and colours of these buildings are different.

Link to the article about the library‘s architecture in the magazine „Archiforma“:
http://www.kamane.lt/lt/atgarsiai/architektura/architekatgarsis121
(in Lithuanian, but automatic translation (e.g. http://translate.google.lt/?hl=lt&tab=wT#) can give you an idea

Overall Cost: 
€ 6.000.000
Detailed description: 

Recreation zones
Conference hall
Cafe
Office premises
Open - access and closed - access collections
Learning centre, Computer classroom
Acoustic space for concerts
Collection of literature in foreign languages
Spaces for reading
Catalogues – access to the electronic catalogue and the card catalogue
Spaces for exhibitions
Local lore, rare books and manuscripts collections
Music library
Audio-visual collection

Front of building: 
Entrance: 
Back of building: 
Side of building: 
Special view outside: 
Interior: 
Special view inside: 
Special departments: 
Reading room: 
Stairs: 
Circulation desk: 
Special features, internal: 
Special features, external: