Bibliotheque Nationale
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Architect Henri Labrouste
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Location Paris, France   map
Date 1862 to 1868   timeline
Building Type central library
 Construction System bearing masonry, iron columns, terra cotta vaults, truss roof
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Neoclassical
Notes Original scheme by Etienne-Louis Boullee, 1785.






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Discussion Bibliotheque Nationale Commentary

"Several proposals had been made for the Bibliotheque Nationale that were inspired by Etienne Boullee's scheme for the Bibliotheque Imperiale for the same site in 1785, but it wasn't until Labrouste's appointment in 1854 that substantial work began."

— Annabel Delgado, in Randall J. Van Vunckt, ed. International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture, Volume 2, Architecture, p222.

"The Reading Room is covered with a series of nine pendentived simple domes of terra-cotta, supported by twelve slender columns of iron, aranged in four rows, the outer columns standing close to the walls."

— Sir Bannister Fletcher, A History of Architecture, p1206.


Quai Francois-Mauriac 75013.

Sources on Bibliotheque Nationale

Michael Brawne. Libraries: Architecture and Equipment. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970. LC 73-089609. Z679.B83. ground plan, p16 plate 16. interior perspective, p16 plate 15. section rendering, p16 plate 17.

Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. London: The Butterworth Group, 1987. ISBN 0-408-01587-X. LC 86-31761. NA200.F63 1987. comments, p1206, photos of reading room and stacks, p1209. — The classic text of architectural history. Expanded 1996 edition available at

Jean-Marie Perouse De Montclos. Etienne-Louis Boullee. New York: George Braziller, 1974. ISBN 0-8076-0672-3. LC 72-92833. NA1053.B69P413. elevation drawing, f69. section drawing, f66. plan drawing, f65.

Randall J. Van Vunckt, ed. International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture : Volume 2, Architecture. Detroit: St. James Press, 1993. ISBN 1-55862-087-7. LC 93-13431. NA40.I48 1993. 720'.9-dc20. discussion, p222 and 224, reading room photo, p223.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Bibliotheque Nationale


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