26 . 11 . 2014

National treasure – A staircase mystery


Press visit

Capture d'écran 2015-04-22 10.38.06The National University Library of Strasbourg is France’s second largest and has just undergone a complete refurbishment by the Architects Nicolas Michelin and Associates. Its original architecture reflected the Wilhelmine historicism of the late 19th century, with its symmetrical, squared organization. A prior refurbishment in the 1950s ended up overshadowing the strength of the original plan, but now this third project represents a homecoming. The original central plan is brought back into the light while the tenuous relationship between inside and outside is reactivated. But above all, the dome is released and highlighted by the central staircase, bathed as it is in an almost mystical light. This symbolic and structural element of the project revives a form of monumentalism which is however stripped of any of its original triumphalism. The National University Library of Strasbourg was nominated for the Equerre d’Argent Prize in the “Refurbishment” category.