UniversitätsbibliothekRoof and Facade of South Wing are Being Restored

7 September 2021

Restoration and extension projects of the University Library

The full-scale restoration of Heidelberg University Library, which has been going on for more than ten years with extensive rebuilding and extensions, is now entering its next phase. At present the elaborate facade of the south wing, resembling the castle, is being refurbished, along with the roofs of this historical building in the Plöck. Completion of work on the different sites is scheduled for mid-2023.

University Library

Stonemasons and craftspersons for metal work are needed to restore the sandstone facade. In order to find the right sandstone for the necessary repairs, inquiries have had to be made about quarries where the structure and shade of the stone best matches the facade of the University Library, which dates to 1905. Mending small damaged patches requires special mortar. If the damage is greater, whole stone blocks are replaced. The restoration of the roof truss started with the south wing. High quality artworks of stone and iron are to be found on the roofs of the historical building with its east, west and south wings. The restoration is taking place in close coordination with the heritage authorities, giving priority to preservation. The craftspersons replicate and replace parts that are too damaged to preserve. The roof is being completely retiled, true to the original, with the same dark slate.

As part of the reconstruction work and extensions, the 15 wings of the historical magazine section were refurbished. After years, the books in the open stacks area can now, for the first time, be presented with the shelf-marks in strict order again. The approximately 650,000 volumes comprise the bulk of the new books since 1977 and are immediately accessible to library users.

The building sites on the south wing constitute an important intermediate step in the multi-stage building project that began in 2009. After the restoration of the roof and facade, their internal areas will follow. The most complex project was extending the northern wing of the University Library by the upper four floors of the Triplex building, which directly adjoins the historical library building. This gave rise to a spacious reading and study landscape. The additional area of around 6,500 square metres accommodates 1,000 new study places, which were officially opened in 2015.

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