1845: Bibliotheque of St. Genevieve – Paris, France
Building: Bibliotheque of St. Genevieve
Location: Paris, France
Architect: Henri Labrouste
The Bibliotheque of St. Genevieve was the first structure in Paris to use mass produced iron beams in its construction. This was nothing like the other buildings in France at the time so it contrasted greatly with the surrounding buildings. On the inside of the library, the cast iron structure of the building was exposed while still preserving space for the all the books and people who visited the library. Mass production of iron beams and other materials marked the birth of industrialized architecture. It was also the first public library in Paris. On the outside of the building were all the names of the authors of the books inside the library. “This highlighted the power of the individual, the strength of unity and the positive outcome derived from the union of people.” It symbolized how the role of the individual was changing and became a place where people could meet and seek out knowledge and develop their own ideas. The combination of how the building was made and what it stood for, all due to modernizing technology, proved that the Bilblotheque of St. Genevieve was the first modern public building in Paris.