EU funds help: Atlantik has been replaced by a library
19. 10. 2020
Thanks to the European funds, the dilapidated building of the Atlantik social house in Děčín has been replaced by a multimedia cultural centre with a library on the banks of the Elbe River.
The worst building in the town and a disgrace to Smetana's Embankment was, at least in the opinion of many Děčín residents, the social house and a roadside restaurant Atlantik that had been out of use for fifteen years. Thanks to a generous European subsidy, the building was rebuilt seven years ago into a library with a multifunctional centre.
The original building was in such a poor condition that it was even declared a brownfield, a dilapidated, unused complex negatively affecting the appearance of an otherwise beautiful town at the confluence of the Elbe and Ploučnice Rivers.
This ambitious project received 85 percent of the total amount of expenditure from the European Regional Development Fund, the remaining fifteen percent was paid by the Ústí nad Labem Region and the Děčín Town Hall. The subsidy thus contributed almost 130.5 million Czech crowns towards the costs exceeding 155 million.
FROM THE EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND, the ambitious project received 85 percent of the total expenditure, the remaining fifteen percent was paid by the region and the town.
THE LIBRARY OFFERS 300 THOUSAND VOLUMES
The town with a population of 50,000 and an important river port can now boast a complex with a number of exhibition, information and presentation areas. Apart from the basement, the entire library was built completely new within sixteen months.The expensive reconstruction produced a new building with one underground and four above-ground floors.
"There was an opportunity to obtain a European grant that covered four projects in one package. It was the Revitalization of Děčín I., which included, in addition to the library, a swimming complex, the chateau and the chateau garden."
Today, this multifunctional municipal cultural and educational facility meets the requirements for cultural activities of a wide group of the town residents from the smallest to the elderly and attracts curious people not only from the Czech Republic. The building structure is accentuated by coloured stripes, each of which bears the name of an important Czech writer, such as Karel Jaromír Erben, Alois Jirásek or Vladimír Holan.
Together with its branches, the library offers three hundred thousand volumes, including books for the youngest children. In addition to traditional collections, it offers a wide range of e-books for free borrowing. Visitors have the opportunity to use, among other things, a study room with computers connected to the Internet. The facility also organizes a broad range of educational courses teaching work with computers, musical instruments playing, fine art, foreign languages, sewing or accounting.
The hall located on the top floor of the building hosts cultural events, discussions and lectures on interesting and current topics. An example is the well-attended event of the novelist, reporter, editor and traveller Josef Formánek held a few days ago.
The ceremonial opening of the Děčín library took place in September 2012. “Unfortunately, a flood came at the end of May of the following year. In the information centre which is part of the library complex but is operated by the town, the water level reached one meter above ground. At that time, the flood level reached approximately 10.70 meters," says the Director of the Děčín library, Ladislav Zoubek. Although the flood hit the complex, it did not reach the actual library's premises as they are elevated on concrete pillars.
THE LIBRARY WAS AT RISK OF CLOSING
The flooded Elbe eventually damaged the public utility networks and the library was without functional elevators, heating or air conditioning for three quarters of a year. "If it happened in winter, we would have to close. In the summer, however, we were able to improvise and ensure the operation in some way. On the other hand, we can still speak of luck because during the floods eleven years earlier, the level of the Elbe rose to 12.35 meters," adds Ladislav Zoubek. In response to that risk, the library innovated the flood control plan and building modifications were made to minimize the risk.
Originally, the director of the library proposed several other locations where the new building could be erected, but in the end the town decided to choose the Elbe embankment to have the library in the town centre.
"At that time, there was an opportunity to obtain the aforementioned European subsidy which addressed four projects at once. It was the Revitalization of Děčín I., which included, in addition to the library itself, also a swimming complex, the chateau and the chateau garden. The original project of the library was designed so that a flood reaching the lower floors could not endanger the library, but due to the price and other problematic issues, it changed several times later," the director specified.
The building, located a few tens of meters from the Elbe River, was designed by the architect as a ripple. This is a certain symbolism for Děčín that is situated on one of the largest Czech rivers. Another interesting feature are the unplastered concrete walls in the interior, which, according to the architect, should evoke a contrast between this building material and real wood, from which doors to the rooms or their frames are made.
Photo: Ladislav Zoubek