Libraries are among my favourite places on the planet, and I’m lucky that one of Berlin’s best, the Luisenbad library, is in the northern suburb of Wedding, where I live. It’s reached by a dark path between a burger joint and a kebab shop, or by a walk along the Panke river. Both lead to a bright courtyard with an impressive neo-baroque building dating from 1888, the old tile lettering Kafe Küche still visible to the left of the entrance.
As the name – literally (Queen) Luise’s Bath – indicates, it was originally a public pool named after a Prussian queen; over the years it has been a restaurant, a coffee shop and a cinema. A protected building since 1978, it was extensively refurbished in 1995 by award-winning architects Rebecca Chestnutt and Robert Niess.
Today’s library is a friendly and bright space, with a large reading garden, a stucco-decorated “Cherub…
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