The world’s greatest libraries look like temples of learning with massive collections of books and majestic decor featuring white and gold marble and vaulted ceilings.
Fascinating images have been collected in a new book Temple of Books by Marianne Julia Strauss to ‘explore the history, mission, architecture and changing role’ of libraries around the world.
Morgan Library and Museum in New York and the Metten Monastery Library in Metten, Germany, are just two of the libraries included in the book, published by gestalten.
Ms Strauss said her book ‘explores how varied the idea of a library can be’, with her collection including repurposed engine sheds and UNESCO-protected mud buildings.
‘The book reveals the extraordinary public and private collections, national and monastery libraries, repurposed engine sheds, and UNESCO-protected mud buildings from Mexico to Vietnam and Mauritania,’ she added.
Temples of Books features the beautiful architectural masterpieces that host the world’s knowledge across the globe and is available via gestalten for £45.
US: The Morgan Library and Museum in central New York began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan. From 1890 Morgan collected manuscripts, early printed books, and old master drawings and prints. Then known as Mr Morgan’s library, the building was constructed between 1902 and 1906. It was designed by Charles McKim of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, to be an Italian Renaissance-style palazzo with three rooms epitomizing America’s Age of Elegance. In 1924, 11 years after Mr Morgan’s death, his son JP Morgan Jr made the library available to scholars and the public
FRANCE: The Library of the National Institute of Art History in Paris, France, contains 1.7 million documents including 30,000 drawings and prints, 750,000 photographs, and 1,800 ancient manuscripts. It features high vaulted ceilings with large windows allowing light to flood into the cavernous building. A free library card is available for art, architecture, and design school students beginning at the Masters level, as well as to members of professional associations such as the Professional Committee of Art Galleries
UK: The Class of 1945 Library was built in 1972 for Phillips Exeter Academy. A succession of designers had failed to understand a specific concept the school wanted for the building – a brick exterior to match the Georgian school builds and an interior with the ideal environment for learning. In 1965 Louis I. Kahn was commissioned to design the library and the Academy loved his use of brick and concerns for natural light. The main floor reaches 70 feet in height, and acts as a place visitors can spot metal bookstacks seven levels above through large holes in the walls, which almost touch at the corners where the walls square off
Fascinating images have been collected in a new book Temple of Books (cover is pictured) by Marianne Julia Strauss to ‘explore the history, mission, architecture and changing role’ of libraries around the world. Morgan Library and Museum in New York and the Metten Monastery Library in Metten, Germany, are just two of the libraries included in the book, published by gestalten. Ms Strauss said her book ‘explores how varied the idea of a library can be’, with her collection including repurposed engine sheds and UNESCO-protected mud buildings
BRAZIL: Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (The Royal Portuguese Reading Room) was founded in 1837 after 43 Portuguese emigrants from Rio de Janeiro met at the house of Dr. António José Coelho Lousada and decided to create a library. 1900, the Portuguese Reading Office became a public library. The rapporteur of the 1872 accounting report stated: ‘The Portuguese Reading Office, in Rio de Janeiro, will have a building worthy of housing its books, the many thousands of good friends who surround us here in this small tabernacle, on whose altars not even an idol can fit. Let the temple therefore be erected, or, more similarly, the arsenal of weapons of intelligence’
GERMANY: Jesuit Library at Maaria laach abbey contains around 260,000 titles, of which around 9,000 were printed before 1800. It is one of the largest private libraries in Germany. A monastery on the site, founded in 1093, housed a library as early as the middle ages and some 69 manuscripts from this period are still held at the library. Built between the monastery church and the guest wing, the library building from 1865 features a cast-iron staircase and parapet. It was renovated for two years and re-opened on July 21, 2015
PORTUGAL: Biblioteca Joanina, part of the University of Coimbra in Portugal, is named after its founder King John V of Portugal, who built it in 1717. It houses 70,000 volumes, including priceless historical documents and first editions. It is registered as a National Monument. The decor includes chinoiserie motifs painted on exotic, South American woods, to show off the global reach of the Portuguese empire at the time
US: George Peabody Library in Baltimore originated from the founding of the Peabody Institute in 1857. The building opened in 1878 and was designed by Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind. The stack room contains five tiers of ornamental cast-iron balconies, which rise to skylight 61 feet above the floor. The library’s 300,000 volume collection contains books about religion, British art, architecture, topography and history; American history, biography, and literature; Romance languages and literature; history of science; and geography, exploration and travel
GERMANY: The Metten Monastery Library room was built under Abbot Johannes Nablas in around 1600. The Gothic collegiate church was rebuilt in Baroque style under Abbot Roman II Märkl in around 1726, using contrast, movement, exuberant detail, deep colour, grandeur, and surprise to achieve a sense of awe. The old library probably began in 1265 and in around 1400 there was also a scriptorium here. It now holds around 20,000 volumes from before 1800