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The Library Building

After its foundation in 1558 the Wittelsbach court library was firstly located in the Kanzleigewoelbe (chambers vault) of the Alter Hof (Old Court). In 1571, after the construction of the Antiquarium (hall of antiquities) in the Alte Residenz, the library was allocated one floor above the rest of the "antiquities", but the year 1599 already saw the return of the library to the Alter Hof, this time to its north wing. In 1778 Prince Elector Karl Theodor ordered the move of the library to the Mauthaus (toll house) in Theatinerstrasse, into which also the Academy of Sciences had moved almost two decades before. The library remained there for only five years. In 1783, after the integration of the holdings of the dissolved Jesuit college, it moved to the former school building of the Jesuits next to the Michaelskirche (St. Michael's church), again together with the Academy of Sciences.
© BSB / H.-R. Schulz
One of the first construction plans of King Ludwig I was to create a representative building for his court and state library. Firstly, the site opposite the Glyptothek on Koenigsplatz, the location of today's Antikensammlung (collection of antiquities), was intended to become the building site for the new library building, but then the gap between the Ministry of War and the Ludwigskirche (St. Ludwig's church) on the new boulevard which the King intended to have extended in a northbound direction, the Ludwigstrasse, came into play. The architect Friedrich von Gaertner was commissioned to plan the building, which was erected between 1832 and 1843. The elongated building on Ludwigstrasse, comprising two inner courtyards, has a length of 152 metres, a depth of 78 metres and a height of 24 metres. With these dimensions the library building is the largest blank brick building in Germany. At the time of its inauguration the building was regarded as the most modern German library building.