Award Cycle:Status:ShortlistedLocation:Various locations, KosovoClient:Royal Norwegian Embassy in PrishtinaArchitect:Bujar Nrecaj ArchitectsDesign:2007-2008Size:Ground floor area: 24 m2Completed:2009-2012
A series of public libraries for disadvantaged youth in rural areas. Bunateka is a word play from the Albanian words biblioteka, or library, and bunar, meaning well or source of water. The architect, living in Kosovo until the age of 12, grew up and was educated in Switzerland, Nearly 17 years later, as he returned to his home town of Lutogllavë, he saw nothing had changed; there was no library and there were no books. So the idea for the Bunateka emerged from the aspiration to establish libraries in Kosovo’s rural areas in order to provide disadvantaged youth with opportunities to access books and educational materials. A 4 x 6 metre wood and glass box on a concrete foundation and fully covered with a solid roof has glazed sides to enable the books within to be seen from all sides, with exterior horizontal louvers and an alignment to protect them from the sun. Although contemporary in style with its clear lines, it hearkens back to the majlis of traditional rural houses. It is an inviting infrastructure serving as a location for students to gather, learn, and broaden their knowledge. Until now, eight have been built. In addition to educating students, the Bunatekas also have successfully become vibrant neighbourhood hubs. “The idea is that books are a source of knowledge just like water is the source of life,” says the architect.