Exploiting color, natural light – and literature, Steven Holl and local architect Marcela Steinbachová’s recently renovated the interior of the Franz Kafka Society Center in Prague. Located in the heart of the city’s former Jewish district in a courtyard tenement house, the Center promotes cultural plurality and “Prague German” literature and is partitioned entirely using bookshelves, even for the washrooms and a small kitchen area. Administrative offices are defined using shelves painted white while shelves lining the entry hall are painted black.
Steinbachova who executed Holl’s concepts (in the form of a black-and-white watercolor), also inserted windows strategically to ensure that the interior would change with the waxing and waning of daylight. The director’s office is disguised and accessed by a panel of shelving that pivots 360 degrees, featuring one white side and one black. “In my reading of Kafka’s library,” Holl says, “one side would be more philosophical, more rational,