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Key Buildings from Prehistory to the Present by Andrew Ballantyne

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Bibliothèque Nationale

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Henri Labrouste, 1801–75

Paris, France; 1860–67

Henri Labrouste spent six years studying in Rome, where he was impressed by the ingenuity of Roman constructional methods, and his drawings were more like engineering studies than the scenographic drawings of most of his near-contemporaries. When he returned to Paris, he set up an atelier, taking on his own students and coaching them in what he called a ‘rationalist’ manner, dealing with practical problems in building and giving proper expression to their parts.

His first significant commission was the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (1840–48), an academic library next to the ...

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