The Government has announced €25 million in funding for the redevelopment of the Old Library in Trinity College Dublin. As one of the most impressive libraries in the world, the Old Library attracts over one million visitors every year. Its main chamber, the Long Room, is home to many precious manuscripts, including the Book of Kells, 200,000 of the library’s oldest books, and historic collections, including marble busts of the great philosophers and writers of the western world.
The redevelopment project is designed to safeguard the building and conserve its vast collection of treasures for future generations. A new state-of-the art Research Collections Study Centre will also be provided. The scheme is being led by a ‘single point’ design team led by Heneghan Peng and including ROD, Lotts, FLN, WH Stephens, ARUP and OLM. Dublin City Council granted planning approval for the project last autumn.
Making the announcement, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “This landmark restoration project will use leading technology and preventive conservation, providing optimum environmental conditions for the 18th century building and its precious collections.”
With external pollution and dust accumulation taking their toll on the fabric of the Old Library building and its collections, the proposed scheme seeks to deliver the structural and environmental upgrades necessary to protect the structure into the future.
Significant air handling and suitable fire mitigation for both the building and its valuable collection are key requirements. Close liaison between the structure and mechanical air supply and extraction ductwork will need to be sympathetically and carefully accommodated within the existing structure.
Large quantities of mechanical plant and services will be accommodated in an underground plantroom immediately south of the Old Library building. The proposed lower level will provide a new visitor entrance to the Old Library building through the existing Podium building. It will also be necessary to extend the East Pavilion to the Old Library building below ground level to provide the required pedestrian linkage.
The new Research Collections Study Centre, which will be provided as part of the redevelopment scheme, is designed for students and scholars both nationally and internationally, with a Virtual Trinity Library providing digital access to its unique and distinct collections across the world.