Structure and Light: Henri Labrouste at the MoMA

I love living in Dallas, yet I do love to head back and visit my favorite cultural spots in Manhattan. Luckily, I do still visit the city quite often while working with clients, and on my trip this week I made time to see the new architectural exhibit at the Museum of Modern ArtHenri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Life.

Although he died in 1875, Labrouste was instrumental in the modern evolution of architecture. His iconic designs—which often integrated exposed metal frameworks, glass, and interesting use of light—still resonate today. The MoMA show is the first solo exhibition of Labrouste’s work in the United States, and it focuses on his designs for two of Paris’s most famous reading rooms, the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.

The skylights and vaulted ceilings give an ethereal effect to the Bibliothèque Nationale reading room.

I adore the play of dark exposed metal work and light-drenched walls in the reading room of the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.

Here are some snapshots from the exhibit, which I thought I’d share with you:

Some of Labrouste’s architectural drawings for the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.

A delicate graphite-and-watercolor plan for one quarter section of a cupola of the Bibliothèque Nationale reading room.

Another graphite-and-watercolor model for beam decorations at the Bibliothèque Nationale.

A sectional model of the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.

If you’re in New York and want a little architectural inspiration, make sure to visit the show!


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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by design and the subtle impact of our surroundings. Some of my earliest influences still resonate – I think of the dark woods and textured lodens of my father’s shooting club, the smell of fresh paint on a new canvas, and the bold symmetry of the Philip Johnson Glass house just down the street. For me, it was a natural path to become an Interior Designer. I love what I do. I’ve created this Journal to share my thoughts, finds and design inspirations. I hope you enjoy it!

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