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France’s Beautiful National Library Reopens After a Decade of Renovations

Ten years in the making, the former National Library of France has reopened after extensive renovations. Architects Bruno Gaudin and Virginie Brégal were charged with bringing life to the historic complex on Paris’s rue de Richelieu.

Gaudin and Brégal faced the immense task of reworking the Richelieu quadrangle, which includes 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. The aging building, which, in the early 2000s, was deemed unsuitable for 21st century needs, is undergoing renovations in two phases. The first phase, which began in 2011, was just recently completed.

To pay honor to the building’s history, the firm carried out extensive historical and structural studies. This research paid dividends in the results, which pay homage to the past while weaving in modern necessities, such as elevators.

The historic Richelieu Quadrangle, which houses the former National Library of France, has reopened after a 10-year renovation.

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