Photos of Europe’s Most Spellbinding Libraries

Nestled away in some of Europe’s most culture-rich cities are libraries that have stood the test of time. They are filled from floor to ceiling with books of all sorts, but the architecture of these buildings often speaks volumes about the time periods they were built in.

Photographer Thibaud Poirier has travelled throughout Europe capturing these incredible designs and structures frame by frame. Whilst most people wouldn’t dream of firing a loud shutter in a library for fear of cold stares and ‘shushing’ from visitors indulged in books, Poirier’s risk has clearly paid off.

Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1732
Bibliothèque de l’Hotel de Ville de Paris, Paris, 1890

Poirier has photographed 25 libraries so far, with each one being incredibly unique.

“Like fingerprints, each architect crafted his vision for a new space for this sacred self-exploration,” says Poirier. “These seemingly minute details are everywhere, from the balance of natural and artificial light to optimise reading yet preserve ancient texts to the selective use of studying tables to either foster community or encourage lonely reflection.”

Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne, Salle Jacqueline de Romilly, Paris, 1897
El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1919
Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome, 1701

The use of symmetry in the images creates a very pleasing composition to the eye, sufficiently complimenting the work of the architect behind the library itself.

Palàcio Nacional de Mafra, Mafra, 1755
Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart, 2011
Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris, 1850
Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra, 1728
Grimm Zentrum Library, Berlin, 2009

You can find more of Poirier’s work on his website, Facebook, Behance, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.

(via Thibaud Poirier via Colossal)

P.S. Photographer Thomas R. Schiff did a similar series with libraries in America, except he created 360-degree photos.