The appearance of the areas inside the building on the Place de la République has changed since 1895. After the First World War, there was no change, and the imperial decoration was retained. It was following the Second World War and the bombing of Strasbourg on 25 September 1944 that the areas open to the public were reorganised along more functional lines.

The restructuring work, carried out by the architect François Herrenschmidt, was completed in the mid 1950s. The areas open to the public now looked completely different, as did the stacks (particularly with the installation of Strafor shelving). The work consisted mainly of rebuilding and modernising the entrance hall and the adding two levels to the main reading room to gain more area for the stacks. Rows of Strafor shelving were fitted between the Lipman shelves (the original shelving type used) thereby doubling storage capacity.

Various minor rearrangements were made during the second half of the twentieth century, sometimes further to incidents - the dome, for instance, suffered damage on more than one occasion during this period (including a dramatic hail storm on 11 August 1958).

The Reading Rooms were reorganised in 1992, and the ground and first floors restructured.

Successive restructuring, the metallic structure of the building, and some of the furnishings (self-supporting shelving) caused weakness in the building, and the safety of both the public and the collections became an issue: the official safety commission returned an unfavourable opinion on using the building.

A number of pre-programming studies were carried out at the end of the 1990s, resulting in a general programme validated by the BNU's Board of Administration on 25 June 2005. In December 2005, under the management of the Rectorate of the Strasbourg regional education authority, as the contracting authority, four teams of architects were shortlisted out of the 67 applications received. On 20 June 2006 a panel designated the team that had won the architecture competition on the basis of sketches - the Nicolas Michelin & Partner Agency.

Building work will start on the building in the Rue Fischart and the Place de la République; work on the building in the Rue Joffre is scheduled for the period following the reopening of the main building.

Vue en coupe historique du bâtiment place de la République (1895): © BNUVue en coupe historique du bâtiment place de la République (1895): © BNU

> leaflet entitled New BNU (New BNU): in French, in German, in English

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