We've been relying on other people's pictures and videos of the restored Central Branch of the St. Louis Public Library for the past few months, but yesterday we finally got to chance to take our own. You can do the same this Sunday, December 9.
The renovation of Cass Gilbert's hundred-year-old building (yes, the same Cass Gilbert who designed the Saint Louis Art Museum) took two-and-a-half years and cost $70 million. "It was important to get it right," says Waller McGuire, the library's executive director. "People throughout the world will be looking at it."
Paul Shaughnessy, the president of BSI Constructors, the general contractor responsible for the project, described the experience as similar to building a ship in a bottle. Tons and tons of building materials, mostly steel, had to enter the building through existing openings and then assembled inside, all without damaging the existing granite walls or marble floors.
There was also a good bit of cleaning involved.
See? The shelves glimmer with special library magic!
Well, actually, those are low-heat LED lights. You can find them all over the library; these are in the first-floor Science and Technology Room, also known as the "How To" Room. But still.
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