St. Louis Public Library

Saint Louis, Missouri

St. Louis’ Central Library is in its 101st year, but thanks to a two-year, $70 million restoration and renovation, you’d think it was brand-new. Designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert, the Beaux Arts structure has long been the crown jewel of the city’s library system. After decades of use – and amid changing technologies – Central Library was ready for a 21st-century rebirth. Now the library melds sensitive restoration and dynamic modern design. The historic spaces’ rich materials and textures are once again visible, illuminated by recreated historic lighting. Meanwhile, a 7-story atrium was created out of what used to be the stacks, making a “building within a building” that lets in light and puts the books on full display. The redevelopment has added roughly 40,000 more square feet of public space where visitors can study, explore and learn. The renewed beauty and inspiration of the Central Library is already attracting 1,000 visitors a day, and is helping to breathe life back into downtown St. Louis.