On view now until September 9, the ‘Très Grande Bibliothèque (Very Big Library)’ Exhibition at the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) presents materials produced by OMA, in response to an international competition launched by France’s then president, Francois Mitterrand, in 1989 to design the new bibliotheque nationale de France. Curated by Rem Koolhaas and Clement Blanchet of OMA, the concept of their proposal resided in the notion of the library spaces being excavated as voids from a ‘solid cube’ containing the archives. The concept offered great architectural freedom, with the public spaces (or voids) being liberated from the constraints of a predeterminded structure or form. More information on the exhibition after the break.
A super-library combining five national collections in one building, Paris’s National Library of France was the final Grands travaux of President François Mitterrand. Initially commissioned to house all French production of words, images, and sounds since 1945, its architectural competition captured the confusion and variety of architectural thinking in 1989. OMA’s proposal was for a 100m tall cube aggressively placed on the banks of the Seine; a building that marks the beginning of the ‘big’ period and the shift from urbanism to conceptual formalism that Rem Koolhaas would retroactively name in his infamous remark on context. For more information on the exhibition, please visit here.