Best Literary Makeover (2008)

Rose Reading Room

Admit it: You haven't been to the library—the one with the lions out front—since the grand restoration of its cavernous reading room was completed last year. You remember that room as a sullen crypt with blacked-over windows and some sort of strange, depressing painting on the ceiling that looked like dirty camouflage combat fatigues. But when you return to the newly christened Rose Reading Room, you'll expect to hear "Ode to Joy" the moment you cross the threshold. The windows, blacked out during World War II, have been restored to their former crystal clarity; the mural on the football-field-size ceiling is now revealed as a shockingly brilliant cerulean-blue sky rimmed by fluffy clouds. Every single wood element was stripped and refinished, and the results are spectacular. Come for the view; stay for the books.


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