Prague, Nov 23 (CTK) – The Czech National Library (NK) has definitively lost its dispute with the HSH architectonic studio about the competition for a new NK building and must pay a 1.6-million-crown compensation to the architects, the appeals Prague Municipal Court decided yesterday.
The court confirmed that the NK should have excluded the winning design by architect Jan Kaplicky (1937-2009) since it had not met the competition conditions.
The library must pay the HSH studio, which finished third in the contest, the difference in the financial reward for the third and second places. The total sum, including interest and court proceeding costs, amounts to almost three million crowns.
Tomas Hradecny, from the HSH, welcomed the court´s decision. He said it proved that the National Library did not exist in a “legal vacuum.”
“The National Library has been convinced to date that it did not make a mistake. We will wait for a written justification of the verdict and then we with our lawyers will consider further steps,” NK spokeswoman Irena Manakova said.
The library can only file an appellate review with the Supreme Court.
Kaplicky’s London-based studio Future Systems won the international contest for the NK building in Prague in March 2007, but the plan has never been materialised.
The blob-shaped building dubbed “octopus” stirred up controversial reactions and it had a number of supporters and opponents among politicians, experts and the public. Prague councillors from the Civic Democrats (ODS), who commanded a majority, as well as then Prague Mayor Pavel Bem (ODS) opposed it. It was also criticised by former president Vaclav Klaus.
The HSH studio filed a legal complaint against the competition in the autumn of 2007. Prior to it, the architects turned to the Anti-Trust Office (UOHS), which said repeatedly it cannot asses the competition since it was not put up according to the law on public orders.
The architects argued, for instance, that Kaplicky´s project had not met the condition of placing the National Conservation Fund above the ground.
($1=25.289 crowns)