The Children’s Library in Tashkent, redesigned by ludi_achitects, is an example of the architecture that interacts with space and meanings. Preserving the educational function, the library became an urban living room, a welcoming public space, an attraction point and a meeting place for the young generation.

Project Name: Renovation of the Republican Children’s Library
Studio Name: ludi_architects
Year: 2023
Status: completed
Location: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Area 1426 m2, landscape 2300 m2
Photographers: Gleb Leonov, Denis Komarov

Renovation of the Republican Children’s-Sheet1
©Gleb Leonov

History of the building

The library building is an important object of cultural heritage of Uzbekistan, located in the one-storey mansion on Yahya Gulyamov Street. Over the last century, its functions have changed: from the building of the Public Assembly (a Tashkent estate club) to the Congress of workers’ and peasants’ deputies. In 1968, it finally became a children’s library. Since then, it has brought several generations of Tashkent families.

Renovation of the Republican Children’s-Sheet2
©Gleb Leonov

In recent decades, the library has needed an architectural renovation and a new perspective. The joint project by ludi_architects and the Uzbekistan Art and Culture Development Foundation was designed to reinvent and relaunch the library as a vibrant and modern cultural center with a diverse programme for different generations, both for children and adults.

 Library’s renovation by ludi_architects

For almost twenty years, ludi_architects from Saint Petersburg have been actively developing and implementing complex projects for the renovation of cultural heritage objects, architecture, landscaping and public interiors in Russia and abroad. The bureau’s projects are based on a thorough study of local history, context and identity; careful work with cultural heritage together with a daring reinvention of territories that meet new demands and modern lifestyle. One of the main bureau’s projects based on a comprehensive design approach is the renovation of New Holland Island in Saint Petersburg.

Renovation of the Republican Children’s-Sheet3
©Gleb Leonov

This approach was also implemented in the project of the Children’s Library of Tashkent. The architects were engaged in the renovation, interiors and landscaping of the surrounding area, taking into account many restrictions imposed by the historic building. The new functions and scenarios were carefully embedded into the existing object, finding the balance between “classical” and contemporary.

The renovated cultural center has become an inclusive space, well adapted for all ages and social groups. In addition to a barrier-free environment, the library has tactile navigation and cozy private booths for listening to audiobooks. The center also provides infrastructure for a mother and child, needed by traditionally large families in Uzbekistan. Together with an older child, who can read on his own, a mother can come with a younger kid. In addition, the architects introduced a small kitchen for snack breaks and having a rest between the studies.

Redesign and functional renewal

The main features of the renovated library are its agility and flexible usage. Isolated reading rooms have been transformed into interconnected open spaces full of light and air. The closed storages have been mostly replaced with open bookshelves. The large stuccoed hall has become a multifunctional space for lectures, public talks, film screenings and workshops. The ground floor also includes a meeting room, quiet coworking spaces and a musical class.

Renovation of the Republican Children’s-Sheet8
©Gleb Leonov

The architects have provided a zoning solution for children of different ages. Low shelves with a special book selection are available for kids, where they can also play on the floor. The teenage sections come with a variety of comfy couches and lounge chairs for reading and chatting. For those, who prefer to work and study in private, there are desks, comfortable armchairs and sitting “nests”.

Due to the height of the ceilings the architects integrated additional working and reading places in the mezzanine floor — an exclusive decision of expanding the functional area of the library within its historical contours.

Renovation of the Republican Children’s-Sheet9
©Gleb Leonov

In the basement there is a modern recording studio for podcasts and audiobooks, a small typography, where library books are printed, and a book storage. A variety of scenarios are available for each room depending on the time.

The functional reprogramming of the library is enhanced by the visual perception and aesthetics. The updated interior is an ingenious mix of modern and historical elements. The meticulously restored stucco and classical decorations are juxtaposed with contemporary designer furniture custom-made by ludi_architects for the project.

The new decoration, made mostly in light-coloured wood, evokes an image of a traditional library with table lamps, wooden shelves and plants. The minimalist design solutions do not clash with historical materials and naturally fit into the existing interiors.

The restoration uncovered a series of historical artifacts that had an impact on the project solutions. Notably, the 19th century columns, which were found inside the walls, now frame one of the interior doors. In the main hall, layers of paint had concealed a Soviet-era seascape, which was cleared, restored and preserved as precious evidence of the building’s past.

Renovation of the Republican Children’s-Sheet10
©Gleb Leonov


The complex approach to the project implied a renewal of the adjacent areas. This way, the library functions were extended outdoors, with design solutions considering the local traditions and climatic features of Uzbekistan.

In front of the library, there is a small city square which was transformed into a green urban living room, preserving perennial pines and natural landscaping. The new version of the courtyard includes a roomy pergola for reading and lounging that offers a welcome shelter in the shade from the scorching Tashkent sun.

There is also an amphitheater with a small stage that smoothly blends in with the existing landscape — a place for performances, public talks and other educational activities.

Social impact

The renovation of the Children’s Library and the landscaping set off a series of effects. The place became a new attraction point for residents of all ages and a meeting place for the young: the attendance of the library has increased several times. The format of an open cultural center with an extensive public programme found a response in locals and visitors.

Renovation of the Republican Children’s-Sheet12
©Gleb Leonov

On a citywide scale, the renewed library activated the nearby street, altering the perception of the place both functionally and stylistically. The project revealed the need for an upgrade of Tashkent’s public spaces and paved the way for new cultural sites across the country.


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