An architectural cross-section by Haworth Tompkins depicting the possible design of the Warburg Institute

The £14.5m Warburg Renaissance project will transform our much-loved but long-neglected building by restoring its original vision and making it ready for future generations. The project will enhance the Institute's academic resources, teaching spaces and public offerings, and create new facilities for special collections, exhibitions and events.

Building work began on 4 July 2022 and will last for 18 months. The building will be refurbished in three phases and a 2-storey new build extension will be constructed in the courtyard.

We will use this page to keep all visitors up to date with the progress of the work and how this affects the location of our collections.

Care has been taken to make sure that the majority of the collections will remain accessible throughout the works.

What's happening this week?

What's happening: 6 - 12 February

Phase 2 begins this week. During Phase 2, floors 3 and 4 will re-open and floors 1 and 2 will close for refurbishment. The construction of the new lecture theatre in the courtyard will begin.

During this week, our removals team will be moving furniture and shelving within the building. All books remain available. The removers have exclusive use of the main staircase and lift on all floors. Please use the library lift and stairs only. 

From Wednesday 8 February preparations will begin for the new building extension in the courtyard. A conveyor system will be installed to the Slade side of the building for the removal of soil. 

The digging of foundations (piling) is scheduled to commence week beginning 20th February and will take around 3 weeks. The piling will be continuous throughout the working day but noise levels are not expected to be too disruptive.

The scaffolding on the outside of the building remains in place while roofers install a new non-slip walkway on the roof and work continues on the external windows and façade. Once work on the roof and façade is complete in around 2-3 weeks, this scaffolding will also be removed.

Phase 2 Decant: 6 February - 8 March

Phase 2 of the Warburg Renaissance project, during which the 3rd and 4th floors will re-open and building work will move down to the 1st and 2nd floors, is now scheduled to begin on 6 February 2023. The moves will affect all floors. If you wish, you may reserve an extra ten books from affected classmarks in the week before the floor closes.

13 - 17 February
ORIENTATION (classmarks B, G, F & A) will be inaccessible while it is moved back to the 3rd floor
Access to the Basement (classmarks K & CR) is restricted while the movers are at work

20 - 22 February
WORD (E & N classmarks; 2nd floor) will be inaccessible while it is moved to the Basement
Access to the Basement (classmarks K & CR) is restricted while the movers are at work

27 February - 3 March
IMAGE (C classmarks; 1st floor) will be inaccessible while it is moved to the Basement and the 4th floor
Access to the Basement (classmarks K, CR, E & N) is restricted while the movers are at work

6 - 8 March:
ACTION (classmarks D & H) will be inaccessible while it is returned to the refurbished 4th floor
Access to C classmarks on the 4th floor is restricted while the movers are at work

Read our project updates on the progress of the Warburg Renaissance works, which mark the milestones of this 18 month project.

Project updates

Noisy works

Noisy works timetable

Noisy works during the construction period will be in accordance with the times below. At 10am and 2pm a handbell is rung in all work areas to signify the end of the unrestricted period.

08.00 - 10.00: Unrestricted noisy works

10.00 - 12.00: Noise from construction site to be less than 45dB within all areas of the building still occupied by the Warburg (i.e., typical library noise conditions)

12.00 - 14.00: Unrestricted noisy works

14.00 - 18.00: Noise from construction site to be less than 45dB within all areas of the building still occupied by the Warburg (i.e., typical library noise conditions)

There are also a number of 'Quiet Days' agreed in advance when no noisy works will take place. These will be for events, exams etc.

Building work and collection moves schedule

Decant / April-June 2022

4 - 22 April 2022: Periodicals (P classmarks; Basement) are moved off-site and remain inaccessible for the duration of the project.

25 April - 8 May 2022: The Photographic Collection is not accessible while it is packed and moved to nearby Stewart House.

9 - 19 May 2022: Orientation (B, G, A & F classmarks; 3rd & 4th floors) is moved to the Basement and will be inaccessible while it is packed and moved within the building. From 19 May, these books will be available in the Basement mobile stacks.

16 May - 1 July 2022: The Archive is not accessible while it is packed and moved to nearby Stewart House. After 2 July, visitors will be able to consult the Archive in Stewart House by appointment.

6 June - 10 June 2022: Action (D & H classmarks; 4th floor) is moved to the 1st floor space vacated by the Photographic Collection and will be inaccessible while it is packed and moved within the building. Access will be restored on the 1st floor. 

10 - 15 June 2022: The Library's rare books and manuscripts will be unavailable while they are packed and moved to Stewart House. After 16 June, special collections will be accessible by appointment at Stewart House.

Phase 1 / July 2022-January 2023: Floors 4 & 3 closed

Floors 4 and 3 are closed for refurbishment

Visitors can consult Archive and Photographic Collection material at the University of London's Stewart House throughout the building works

Action (D & H classmarks) is accessible on the 1st floor

Orientation (B, G, A & F classmarks) is accessible in the Basement

Word (E & N classmarks) is available for use on the 2nd floor

Image is available for use on the 1st floor (C classmarks) and Basement (K & CR classmarks)

Periodicals (P classmarks) remain in off-site storage and are not accessible

The rest of the Library collections remain in place.

Decant / February-March 2023

Orientation (classmarks B, G, F & A) is returned to the refurbished 3rd floor and will be inaccessible for approximately one week while it is packed and moved (13-17 February 2023)

Word (E & N classmarks; 2nd floor) is moved to the Basement and will be inaccessible for approximately three days while it is packed and moved (20-22 February 2023)

Image (C classmarks; 1st floor) is moved to various locations on the 4th floor and in the Basement and will be inaccessible for approximately four days while it is packed and moved (27 February - 3 March 2023). K and CR classmarks remain in place in the basement.

Action (classmarks D &H) is returned to the refurbished 4th floor and will be inaccessible for approximately three days while it is packed and moved (6-8 March 2023)

Periodicals (P classmarks) remain in storage off-site and are not accessible

Phase 2 / February/March-August 2023: Floors 2 & 1 closed

The 3rd and 4th floors reopen after refurbishment; the 1st and 2nd floors close for building works

Visitors can consult Archive and Photographic Collection material at the University of London's Stewart House throughout the building works

Action (D & H classmarks) is available for use on the refurbished 4th floor

Orientation (B, G, A & F classmarks) is available for use on the refurbished 3rd floor

Word (E & N classmarks) is available for use in the Basement

Image (K, C & CR classmarks) is available for use in the Basement and the 4th floor

Periodicals (P classmarks) remain in storage off-site and are not accessible

Decant / August-September 2023

Word (E & N classmarks) will be briefly inaccessible while it is packed and moved back to the 2nd floor (dates to be confirmed)

Image (K, C & CR classmarks) will be briefly inaccessible while it is packed and moved back to the 1st floor (dates tbc)

Reading Room reference works (RR classmarks) are moved to off-site storage and will inaccessible until March 2024 (dates tbc)

Phase 3 / September 2023-February 2024: Ground and Lower Ground floors closed

The 1st and 2nd floors reopen after refurbishment. The Ground floor Reading Room is closed and a temporary Reading Room is set up on the 4th floor. The Ground and Lower Ground floors close for building works.

Visitors can consult Archive and Photographic Collection material at the University of London's Stewart House throughout the building works

Action (D & H classmarks) is available for use on the refurbished 4th floor

Orientation (B, G, A & F classmarks) is available for use on the refurbished 3rd floor

Word (E & N classmarks) is available for use on the refurbished 2nd floor

Image (K, C & CR classmarks) is available for use on the refurbished 1st floor

Periodicals (P classmarks) and Reading Room reference works (RR classmarks) remain in storage off-site and are not accessible

Final decant / February-March 2024

The project is completed

Periodicals and Special Collections (the Archive, Photographic Collection and the Library's rare books collection) are returned to the refurbished Lower Ground floor

Reading Room reference works (RR classmarks) are returned to the newly refurbished ground floor Reading Room

Special Collections

Special Collections

The Institute’s Special Collections – the Archive, Photographic Collection and the Library’s rare books and manuscripts – have been moved to the University of London’s Stewart House at 32 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DN. Stewart House is a five minute walk from the Institute.

Material from the Archive and the Library's Special Collections are available for consultation by appointment only until the end of the building project in December 2023. 

Walk-in visitors are welcome in the Photographic Collection and there is no need to make an appointment in advance.

Photographic Collection

The Photographic Collection has now moved to its temporary new home in Stewart House (32 Russell Square, WC1B 5DN), where it will remain until the end of the building works in February 2024. There is no need to make an appointment to use the collection.

Archive

The Archive has now moved to its temporary new home in Stewart House (32 Russell Square, WC1B 5DN), where it will remain until the end of the building works in February 2024. Visitors can consult Archive material in Stewart House, a five minute walk from the Warburg Institute.

Please email warburg.archive@sas.ac.uk to organise your visit.

Library rare books and manuscripts

The Library's special collections have been moved to their temporary new home in Stewart House (32 Russell Square, WC1B 5DN). 

Please ask at the Reading Room enquiries desk or email warburg.library@sas.ac.uk if you would like to consult items designated as Warburg Rare Books/Apply to staff on the library catalogue. Special collections materials is not available on Saturdays as Stewart House is closed. We may require up to 24 hours warning in order to provide access to rare books and manuscripts either in the Institute or in the Stewart House Reading Room.

Basement

Periodicals

The Library’s periodicals (P classmarks) have been moved off-site from 4 April 2022 and will be inaccessible throughout the works. We apologise for the inconvenience this causes.

Check our the library catalogue and Periodicals List or to see which of our periodicals are available online either from the Warburg Institute or as open access journals.

All readers with a valid Warburg Library card can access JSTOR by logging in through our Online Resources and Databases page. Click on the JSTOR link and, when prompted, enter your name and the barcode number on the back of your Warburg Library card.

Image: Ancient Art & Archaeology (K), Modern Art (C)

Books with classmarks K and CR will be moved to the 1st floor at the end of Phase 2 (August/September 2023). Until then, access to the basement may be temporarily restricted during the Phase 2 decant (February/March 2023) while books are being packed and moved. Please ask a librarian if you need help accessing books during this time.

The Reading Room

Reading Room reference works

The ground floor Reading Room will be closed during Phase 3 of the building works, from August 2023 - February 2024. During this time, Reading Room reference works will inaccessible while they are temporarily stored off-site.

1st floor

Image: Art History (C)

The 1st floor will be closed during Phase 2 of the building works, from March - August 2023.

Image books will be inaccessible between 27 February - 3 March 2023 while they are packed and moved within the Institute.

During Phase 2, Art History books from the 1st floor will be made available in different locations. Some will be temporarily moved to the 4th floor while others will be relocated to the Basement, alongside K (Ancient Art) and CR (Modern Art) classmarks which are currently shelved there.

When Phase 2 is completed in August 2023, all Art History books (K, C and CR classmarks) will be moved to the 1st floor.

2nd floor

Word: Language & Literature (E), Transmission of Classical Texts (N) 

The 2nd floor will be closed during Phase 2 of the building works, from February to August 2023.

Word books will be inaccessible between 20-23 February 2023 while they are packed and moved.

From February to August 2023, E and N classmarks from the 2nd floor will be temporarily rehoused in the Basement mobile shelving and will be available for use there.

When Phase 2 is completed in August 2023, E and N classmarks will be returned to the 2nd floor.

3rd & 4th floor

Orientation: Western Religions (B), Eastern Religions (G), Philosophy (A), Magic & Science (F)

Classmarks starting with B, G, A and F are now available for use in the Basement.

The 3rd and 4th floors will be closed during Phase 1 of the building works, from July 2022 to February 2023.

When Phase 1 is completed in February 2023, B, G, A and F classmarks will be returned to the 3rd floor.

Orientation books will be inaccessible between 13-17 February 2023 while they are packed and moved back to the 3rd floor.

4th floor

Action: Society & Culture (D), History (H)

Classmarks starting with D and H are now available on the 1st floor in the area vacated by the Photographic Collection.

The 4th floor will be closed during Phase 1 of the building works, from July 2022 to February 2023.

When Phase 1 is completed in February 2023, H and D classmarks will return to the 4th floor.

Action books will be inaccessible between 6-8 March 2023 while they are packed and moved  back to the 4th floor.