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The spectacular former national library of France reopens after a 10-year renovation

The former national library of France reopened after a decade-long renovation project and the results have proven spectacular.

France’s former national library, located at the Rue De Richelieu in Paris, recently reopened after a ten-year-long major renovation.

The library, originally built in 1868, was closed for renovation so that it may be updated to meet the demands of the 21st century. It houses within its walls reading rooms of the manuscripts department, the maps and plans branch, medals and antique bureau, and the performing arts office. Since 1993, it has also been home to the French national art history library.

Works to the main body of the library have been taken on by Bruno Gaudin’s architectural firm and Salle Labrouste by architect Jean Francois Langeau. Although, the former is now open the latter is set for completion come 2020.

When discussing the build Bruno Gaudin’s office, said: “This long history of the construction of the library, often conducted by the major architects of each period, has left us with a heritage of extreme complexity commensurate with the richness of the heritage of the spaces that characterize it,” before adding that “by hewing as closely as possible to the reality of the existing ensemble, the challenge of this project consisted of seeking the right balance between a building and a program.”

The firm had to re-establish the visitor flow through the library, adding stairs and elevators without disturbing the look and feel of the building. On the Salle Labrouste, Jean Francois Lagneu has said the biggest challenge was restoring the vibrant colours of the space whilst ensuring the historic heritage space meets building regulations.

Here, in all its glory, is the completed work: