Ready: Renovation of Staatsbibliothek Unter den Linden is Finished

News from 11/04/2019

The keys to the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin in the building on Unter den Linden were turned over on November 4 after a renovation suitable for listed buildings. The ceremony marked the end of the complete renovation and expansion of the complex of listed buildings, which is more than 100 years old and was one of the federal government’s largest cultural construction projects.

Innenhof der Staatsbibliothek Unter den Linden
Innenhof der Staatsbibliothek Unter den Linden © SPK/photothek.net/Thomas Koehler

Since 2005, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library) in the building on Unter den Linden has undergone complete renovation and extension while the library kept regular opening hours. The project was supervised by the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning and commissioned by the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, SPK).

Hermann Parzinger, president of SPK, happily announced: “The renovation of this temple to education and science from the Late Wilhelminian era, is now complete. One of the buildings that makes Unter den Linden into a magnificent boulevard is now visible again. It is part of the historical educational landscape at the heart of Berlin. The building, which was damaged during World War II, kept regular opening hours while it was being renovated. The work was carried out according to specifications for listed monuments, responsibly, with the greatest care and the best quality. The results are a historical and, at the same time, highly modern library with a central reading room and various specialized reading rooms, perfectly air conditioned and protected against fire, with book transport systems, group work rooms, and a digitization center. It is a worthy treasury for the historical inventories and a highly functional, contemporary library.”

The northern part of the building was renovated in phases until 2012 and equipped with modern building technology: the book storerooms were air conditioned for the first time and box transport systems were installed. The contemporary extension in a glass cube design contains the multi-storied general reading room and the safe storeroom for the library’s particularly valuable collections. The parts of the building used by the Academy of Sciences were completed in 2014. This was followed in spring of 2017 by the event area, the administrative area, special reading rooms, and more offices.

The main objective of the most recently completed building phase was the renovation of the trademark axis of access from the open entry hall on Unter den Linden to the listed Brunnenhof (fountain courtyard) and the main staircase into the vestibule.

In the next few weeks, the temporary structures will be removed and the process of moving everything in will begin. The Staatsbibliothek (State Library) is scheduled to reopen in 2020. After the main entrance on Unter den Linden is open, the library museum will be constructed where the temporary entrance on the ground floor is at present, as a supplementary building measure. The Staatsbibliothek will be able to permanently exhibit a small part of its inventories there.

The projected total budget is around 470 million euros. After reopening in 2020, the Staatsbibliothek in the building onUnter den Linden will have room for almost 650 users and over 50,000 square meters of usable space, about five times as much as the Bode-Museum. The entire complex encompasses an area of 107,000 square meters. This makes the Staatsbibliothek one of the largest institutions of its kind in the world.

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