Saturday, February 02, 2013

The National Library of Romania - 25 Years in the Making

And it's still not done.

From a story in American Libraries magazine...

The National Library occupies several floors, with escalators and glass elevators and ceilings, all with LED lighting. The Aedificia Carpaţi architectural firm won the contract with the Ministry of Culture in 2009 for the completion of construction work on the building, for €112,894,627, a 20-year loan that Romania’s government secured from the Council of Europe Development Bank.

Work started on the building in 1986, during the regime of the infamous Nicolae Ceauşescu, but construction came to an abrupt halt after the 1989 revolution that overthrew communism and ended with the execution of Ceauşescu and his wife. The building then stood half finished until 2009 when the Romanian authorities decided that the project should be finalized. The original 1986 structure received a modern look with the glass shell that envelops the building. The interior space design did not allow for too much alteration.

A few months before his demise, in the summer of 1989, Ceauşescu insisted on inaugurating the building. Part of the main entrance hall was staged as a library, he cut the ribbon, and the year “1989” was carved on the frontispiece, where it remained for the next 20 years as a symbol of unfinished business.

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