An Exhibit “Henri Labrouste (1801- 1875), architect. Highlighting the structure”

Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève

Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève

Redacted by Seyna Bacot
Translation by Cynthia Lasserre de Vezeronce

This is the title of the recent exhibit devoted to Henri Labrouste, organized in Paris in close collaboration between Corinne Belier, Commissioner of the Exhibit and Chief Curator of the Musee des Monuments Nationaux at the Centre de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Barry Bergdoll, Commissioner of the Exhibit and Chief Curator of the Philip Johnson Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York and Marc Le Cœur, Commissioner of the exhibit, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and  the participation of the Academie de l’Architecture and  the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève. The scenography by Manuelle Gautrand.

This bilateral collaboration will continue through the spring of 2013 when the exhibit opens at the MOMA. New York. (March 10 – June 2, 2013)

It is for the first time that such a double homage is paid, on both sides of the Atlantic to this leader of of romantic architects, much admired by Viollet le Duc, but far less well known.

Moreover, Labrouste not only left a deep imprint on the French architecture of his time, he also attracted the attention of his profession in the United States. Let us not forget that Labrouste was recognized as a member of the prestigious association the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

He was certainly a source of inspiration for Richard Morris Hunt, Charles Follen McKim (Boston) and Louis Sullivan but also Henry-Russell Hitchcock. All enthusiast admirers of the architectural innovations illustrated in the two Parisian “Bibliotheques”, Labrouste’s chef d’oeuvres: the reading room of the Bibliotheque Nationale and the Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve.

Labrouste incorporates traditional art and materials- stone, wood, glass, sculpture and paint- which he audaciously combined with new materials – caste iron and iron. His vision of a new approach to lighting is original. He takes advantage of new technologies permitting to play thanks to glass canopies with the zenithenal light, at night having recourse to gas light, so innovator, as for example at the Bibliotheque Nationale. Its reading room, landmarked monument, whose renovation is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2014, together will be with the Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, a key architectural iconic model along been a “temple of knowledge”


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