This building expresses the tension between the traditions of history (as displayed on the exterior) and the promises of technology (revealed in the interior). Labrouste follows tradition and includes the names of over 900 authors on the exterior entablature. The interior reading room uses iron decoratively as well as structurally, elevating iron's status from a purely industrial material. The sense of modernity is also expressed through the inclusion of gas lamps in the reading room, thereby allowing a public interior space to be utilized at night.
CRYSTAL PALACE, London (1851) Joseph Paxton, reconstruction with landscaping Crystal Palace, London, 1851 Joseph Paxton