When old-world elegance meets modern functionality, it can be truly beautiful.
After years of renovation, the Richelieu library has returned to its magnificent form, ready to usher in a new century of curiosity. Home to various sections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (National Library of France), the site is a monument of its own rich architectural history, from the high ceilings of the Salle Labrouste (reading room) to the glass-walled rooftop promenade.
Bruno Gaudin and Virginie Brégal led the project, with Jean François Lagneau (Chief Architect of Historic Monuments) taking over the Salle Labrouste. The cost of the renovation has exceeded $110 million AUD, and that’s only Phase 1. While much of the library is accessible now, Phase 2 is due to be completed in 2020.
The quadrangle houses the collections and reading rooms of the Manuscripts Department, the Maps and Plans branch, the Coins, Medals and Antiques bureau, and the Performing Arts Office.
Perhaps the biggest difference is that library goers can now enjoy the same classic ambiance with contemporary efficiency. Where minimalism was required, they made way for it. Elevators have also been installed.
Immense research work was done to honour the library’s historical design, and the results speak for themselves.