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New Conservation Centre for the BnF

Aims and ambitions

Founded in the 14th century, the BnF houses the French national library collection, comprising over 40 million documents including 15 million books and journals, as well as manuscripts, prints, photographs, maps, coins, medals, videos and sound documents. The collection is stored within two central locations in Paris and a network of smaller sites throughout the city. Over the past three decades, the facilities have struggled to keep pace with evolving standards of collection care, and by 2030 the repositories are projected to reach capacity, requiring a completely new archive to accommodate the growing collection.

In response to these challenges, the new conservation centre aims to create a world class archive for the preservation of French cultural heritage, setting a new standard for excellence in library conservation and management. 

The winning project comprises two buildings within a 11,000 m² masterplan: a 180 m long passive archive building for state-of-the-art collection storage and a bespoke timber framed office building for people and conservation processes. Each building has a very different architectural identity, deliberately spaced apart but connected by underground passageways to allow for easy movement of people and collection items. 

Located on the former site of the CHU Amiens-Picardie North Site, the initiative forms part of an urban plan to establish a new cultural centre to the north and create a new civic landmark within Amiens.

The archive building

The archive building will store and protect the renowned French national library collection, one of the oldest in the world.

The building will contain a vast single room with fully automated storage and retrieval systems operated by state-of-the-art robotic technology. It will provide over 280 linear km of storage space within a low-oxygen environment to protect the collection from fire and water damage. The building will be highly airtight to create passive temperate control, significantly reducing energy consumption in operation. 

Externally, the building features an expressive steel exoskeleton encased in stainless steel mesh. The super-airtight and lightweight structure provides all-weather protection for the collection inside and gives the building a distinctive identity and presence. 

Innovative engagement strategies will increase public interaction with the collection by incorporating a viewing gallery into the west end of the building. The window will offer visitors and users a unique opportunity to look into the archive, revealing the automation and robotic operation systems.

The workplace building

The workplace building is strategically placed in front of the archive with elevated views back to the city centre landmarks. The building will allow for modern digitisation of the historic collection and day-to-day collection care and management. The building will be structured with low-carbon timber and will feature a large courtyard in the centre to provide natural light, open green space and better connectivity between floors.

Strategic objectives and next steps

The project will fulfil several strategic objectives for the BnF, including to:
— Increase the capacity and quality of storage facilities and providing the highest international standards of collection care;
— Increase engagement with the collection and widening public access;
— Increase the environmental performance of buildings to decarbonise operations;
— Support institutional growth over the next three decades;
— The project will start on site in Spring 2026, anticipated to complete by 2029.


New Conservation Centre for the Bibliothèque nationale de France and National Press Conservatory


Bibliothèque nationale de France, OPPIC (delegated project manager)


Amiens, France


11,000 m²


TVK & Carmody Groarke (Architects), Atelier Roberta (Landscape Architect), EVP (Structural Engineer), Ingerop (M&E Engineer), VPEAS (Cost Consultant), Buro Happold Limited (Specialist M&E Engineering), Willhey Ltd (Robotic and Automation Specialist)


Conservation centre opening in 2029


Jeudi Wang

Team TVK

Loïc Cendrier (project director), Zoé Duvauchel, Felix Tönnis

Facilities, Offices

The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), together with the City of Amiens, the Communauté d’Agglomération Amiens Métropole, the Département of Somme, the Hauts-de-France Region and the Ministry of Culture have announced a French-British team comprising TVK and Carmody Groarke as the winners of an international competition for the BnF’s new conservation centre on the former Amiens Northern Hospital complex. The competition shortlist included Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in partnership with DATA architects, AAPP/Atelier d’architecture Philippe Prost, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) in partnership with Atelier WOA.

The project builds on the team’s shared experience within the UK and France including TVK’s experience of designing large-scale projects in urban environments and Carmody Groarke’s history of building low-carbon archive buildings, learning from the British Library, Boston Spa.

Ground floor
Ground floor