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Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

Situated in the eastern part of the city, the four 80-metre-high L-shape towers of the library complex form a landmark that is visible from afar. In the future, it is planned, they will represent the nucleus of a new district in an area that has hitherto suffered from urban neglect. A large part of the overall volume is concealed in six basement storeys. This plinth structure extends over a rectangular area, the corners of which are marked by the external angles of the towers. Accommodated in the plinth are the public facilities of the library, including the reception, information centre, reading rooms and ancillary functions. The timber boarded area above the plinth is designed as an open public esplanade, which is reached almost incidentally via timber stairs extending round three sides of the complex. The centre of the development is formed by an area sunk 23 m below ground level and containing a grove of trees, to which the façades of the reading rooms are oriented.

This article is taken out of the following magazine:
DETAIL 2/1999

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