Planning application lodged for refurbishment works and new extension at NLI
Works in former book storage area will provide new exhibition and other public spaces
A planning application for refurbishment works and new extension at the West Wing of the National Library of Ireland (NLI) on Kildare Street, Dublin 2 has been lodged (26 September 2023) with Dublin City Council by the National Library of Ireland with the Commissioners of Public Works.
A planning application for refurbishment works and new extension at the West Wing of the National Library of Ireland (NLI) on Kildare Street, Dublin 2 has been lodged (26 September 2023) with Dublin City Council with the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland.
The proposed redevelopment will include the conservation, refurbishment and adaptation of the West Wing of the building into a new publicly accessible cultural space. It will create new public areas housed over six levels and 1,600 square metres. This will provide new exhibition and event spaces, a bespoke learning centre, a café, retail and additional public facilities. There will be a new six-storey extension in the rear courtyard to facilitate universal access.
The West Wing is a former book storage area. The refurbishment project will have a strong focus on sustainability and sensitivity to the architectural heritage of the Victorian-era building.
The first phase of this major redevelopment programme entitled ‘Reimagining the National Library’ ran from 2017 until 2019, with the relocation of 350,000 books, newspapers and periodicals from the Victorian West Wing to newly developed, safer book storage.
This is a flagship project in the Government’s National Cultural Institutions Investment Programme under the National Development Plan. Delivery of the project is being led by the NLI and the Office of Public Works.
Commenting, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “The lodging of this planning application marks an important day for the National Library of Ireland. The redevelopment will give the NLI additional exhibition space, allowing it to showcase more of the national collections in its care allowing for greater access for the people of Ireland and visitors from around the world. This legacy project will enhance Dublin’s cultural offering as a place to visit, live and work, in line with the spatial goals and sustainability principles of the Project Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework.”
Minster of State at the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan TD said: “The OPW is delighted to lodge the planning application for this culturally significant project. The OPW team has been working closely with the NLI, Minister Martin’s department and conservation architects Fitzgerald Kavanagh + Partners to develop a project that will deliver a modern, accessible, sustainable amenity that respects the historic nature of the building. Once completed, it will allow visitors to experience this remarkable building, redeveloped in a sustainable manner, with its fine key features retained or repurposed.”
Director of the National Library of Ireland, Dr Audrey Whitty said: “The National Library of Ireland commenced the ‘Reimagining the National Library’ project in 2017. This once in a generation project is the most significant investment in the National Library of Ireland since the main building on Kildare Street opened in 1890. This refurbishment project will be a transformational redevelopment for the NLI, enhancing our historic building for significant new uses for everyone from across our island and further afield to enjoy. The new exhibition and learning spaces will be free of charge, bi-lingual and fully accessible. This will enable the NLI to share the stories of Ireland with the widest and most diverse audiences possible.”
The planning application will be available on the Dublin City Council website for review and observations.