Goethe-Institut | Library

|| Goethe-Institut | Cultural institute for the Federal Republic of Germany | Library | project year 2015

site | Knez Mihailova 50, 11000 Beograd

client | Goethe-Institut, Knez Mihailova 50, Beograd

refurbishment and interior design | Takt Studio + URED architecture studio

lighting consultant | Ivana Rakonjac

photography | Relja Ivanic arhitektonska fotografija 

surface | 150,00 m2 gross

status | completed 2016


The house that has been situating the Goethe-Instut from 1983 to present day was originally built in 1870. It is considered a cultural asset and belongs to the Knez Mihailova Street trade centre, one of the most outstanding representatives of it’s time. The house was built by merchant Kumanudi and named after his wife, Hristina Kumanudi.

Throughout history this house hosted the French-Serbian Bank, Consulate of Belgium and Great Britain, up until 1918. when it was assigned to the Belgrade merchant Nikola D.Niki. After his death, the house was handed over to the Belgrade trade youth. After a fire in 2007, the building was temporarily refurbished, thus in 2015. it was decided to renew the entire interior. URED architectural studio was hired to design the interior space of the library on the ground floor.

Project description

Library space is divided into four areas: ‘infrastructure’, ‘superstructure’, ‘coulisse’ and ‘interface’. Each area has its own functional and spatial characteristics, altogether forming a unity. The ‘superstructure’ zone, part of the library space oriented towards the Knez Mihailova Street, represents the focus of the project and offers various scenarios. The primary function of this space is a reading room which can easily be transformed into a space for lectures, workshops, exhibitions and different events organized by the cultural institute. Multi-functionality is achieved by innovative solutions of modular interior elements that allow flexibility and transformability of the space. There is a possibility of changing the ambient using different lighting modes. The ‘infrastructure’ zone covers the service areas, a vertical communication and bookshelves. The ‘coulisse’ zone represents a line between ‘infrastructure’ and ‘superstructure’, which includes a wall with two arched passages and a central column. This area is the lining for the modular green wall enriching the library space. The ‘interface’ zone consists of windows, oriented towards the Knez Mihailova Street and the passage, communicating the library space with passers-by.

Furniture elements are mainly designed by URED architecture studio fulfilling the requirements of the library space. The design principles are derived from need for a multifunctional space – flexible, transformable, modular and easy to store furniture. Trapezoid desks, placed in the reading room, are one of the former designs made by URED studio, whilst a rotating reception table, a trapezoid bench/shelf, as well as a modular shelving system were designed for this occasion. The transformability of the elements provides the possibility of different visual experiences of the space. The furniture is made in different tones of plywood that give a certain dynamic while being complementary with the color palette that is used in the space.