The Machine Hall
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Architect Contamin and Dutert
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Location Paris, France   map
Date 1889   timeline
Building Type exhibition building
 Construction System steel frame and glass
Climate temperate
Context urban exposition
Notes At the Paris Exhibition of 1889. Steel arch frames 150' high spanned about 380 feet. Glass roofing above the girders.


Photo, historical

Photo, historical

Photo, historical



Detail Drawing

Perspective Drawing
Contributions appreciated

Discussion The Machine Hall Commentary

“Erected and glazed in the space of a year, Contamin’s shed was a huge ‘tent’ of blue and white translucent glass covering a clear space of 800 by 380 feet and held in place by 10-foot-deep, wrought-iron, lattice arches; steel, at that date, still being extremely expensive. Beneath this canopy, mobile platforms running on rails, shuttled some 100,000 people a day above the latest examples of industrial machinery laid out at their feet; a mechanical panorama to be viewed solipsistically, so to speak, from the vantage point of a mobile exhibiting machine.”

— Kenneth Frampton and Yukio Futagawa. Modern Architecture 1851-1945.


Built for the 1889 International Exhibition, Paris, the centenary celebration of the French Revolution (as was the Eiffel Tower) and demolished in 1910.

427 m (1400 ft) long, 45 m (150 ft) high, with spans of 114 m (375 ft). Completely glazed.

Sources on The Machine Hall

Sir Banister Fletcher. Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture. 18th ed., revised by J.C. Palmes. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975. ISBN 684-14207-4. NA200.F63. Mentioned, p1188 and p1220. small but impressive photo, p1222.

Kenneth Frampton. Modern Architecture, 1851-1945. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1983. ISBN 0-8478-0506-9. LC 83-61363. NA642.F7 1983. perspective, p7. detail of hinged supports, p6.

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. Interior perspective rendering, p206-207.  Find books about The Machine Hall


Web Resources
Links on The Machine Hall

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