I promised you pictures, so here’s the first one!
This has to be one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever seen — and it’s so perfectly suited to its environment, it’s absolutely amazing! It’s in Cambridge, and, as you see, it’s right on the river, which tends to flood. A rather problematic setting for a library, you might think. But Wren had a brilliant answer to this problem.
As you can see, there are tons of doors and windows in the building, each matched to another on the opposite side. In the event of a flood, the librarians open everything on the ground floor, and let the water wash through. Result? The building has successfully withstood many floods, and none of the books or manuscripts it contains has ever been water damaged.
Amazing, isn’t it?
But of course, this only works because the building has a really solid foundation and great stonework. ….
Speaking of which, when I visited New Grange in Ireland last year, I learned that the roof of the chamber there has not leaked in 5,000 years! Librarians, take note!
BTW, everybody, please come see the new library in Mount Kisco, if you’re in the area!
More pictures later….
My sister just told me to remind everyone that they don’t keep any of the books on the ground floor of this library! (Well, of course not! ;-D)