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Paris’s 19th-century National Library dazzles after renovation

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It’s the first part of a two-phase revamp expected to wrap up in 2020

Inside the newly renovated National Library of France, in Paris. The process took a full decade and included reading rooms, manuscript-storage areas, and more.
© Marchand Meffre via Designboom

Ah, libraries: The hush; the dusky smell of books; all that accumulated knowledge in one place; and, oh, the architecture!

Perhaps the world’s most revered library—and certainly the one most studied by architects-in-training—is the National Library of France, in Paris, designed by architect Henri Labrouste and built in the mid-19th century.

In the early 2000s, as the internet came into prominence and the grand structure aged, library officials decided it was time for a refresh, and commissioned local firms Bruno Gudin Architectes and Lagneau Architectes to work together on the renovation, keeping portions of the building open to the public in the process.

The results of the first phase of the two-phase renovation process, expected to finish in 2020, are pretty stunning: The spectacular Labrouste Reading Room (the Salle Labrouste), and its colonnades and graceful arches shine like new. Other spaces, like the central book reserve, got more serious architectural intervention, in the form of new metal walkways and increased ease of access to tomes, monographs, and other documents.

Take a full photo tour over at Designboom.

© Marchand Meffre
Inside the library’s renovated central book reserve, originally built in 1868.
© Takuji Shimmura

Via: Designboom

Watch: New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room after renovation