National Library of France Completely Transformed After a 15 Year Renovation | My Modern Met

By Jessica Stewart on April 2, 2023

All images @ Takuji Shimmura/Atelier Bruno Gaudin Architectes

The wait was well worth it!

After 15 years, Bruno Gaudin Architectes has completed work on the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF). The massive undertaking saw the firm touch every part of this national archive, which is spread across two sites: the Richelieu and François-Mitterrand. Tackled in two phases, the first of which was completed in 2016, the fulfillment of the project has revolutionized the library for both its employees and the public.

“After 15 years of work, we have returned a building that has been profoundly transformed to meet the contemporary challenges of welcoming the public, opening it up to the city, and sharing and exchanging with the younger generations,” shares Bruno Gaudin. “Yesterday, closed in on itself, the large, magnificent, worn, fragmented, dark, and dilapidated treasure chest has now been given a new identity, full of light.”

Perhaps the most dramatic public transformation occurred in phase one when the Oval Room was completely restored and refurbished. This iconic reading room, located on the Richelieu site, was originally designed in the late 19th century.[…]

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