Friday, June 11, 2010

The Carnegie Library of Rheims

In the wake of the First World War, American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie contributed funds for the construction of libraries in the three most-damaged cities of Europe. One of these libraries was given to Rheims. Building started in 1921 and was completed in 1927. From its inauguration in 1928 until all the way to 2003, it served as Rheim's main library.

The Carnegie Library of Rheims was, from its inception, a symbol of Franco-American relations. The President of the Republic and the U.S. Ambassador to France attended the library's inauguration. The building was designed by the Rheims architect Max Sainsaulieu in the Art Deco style that led the city's post-war reconstruction. From its exterior friezes to its interior elements, the building is Art Deco.

Sainsaulieu conceived of the building as a temple to knowledge. The main reading room is a high-ceilinged space with large windows and two stories of bookshelves. Although the room is not particularly large, it is luminous and warm.

The reading room's leaded windows are works of art... is the stained-glass ceiling by Jacques Gruber.

The card-catalog room also boasts two levels.

The lobby is paneled in onyx, with inset mosaics. These mosaics, designed by Henri Sauvage, depict a variety of human intellectual and physical activities. Here is a sampling of these mosaics.

1 comment:

  1. Dear David
    I hope this message still reaches you
    I saw the wonderfull picture of the the stained-glass ceiling. I whant to put it on a LED panel in my home office.
    Now my question: have you got this photo in a larger resulution and would you be so kind to send it to me, to
    best thanks and best regards Frank