“Etienne-Louis Boullee, one of the most imaginative architects of all time, proposed in 1785 a long, high-roofed gallery of gigantic proportions,
inspired by the ruins of ancient Greece, in which the rectangle of the gallery would be topped by an arched ceiling, and readers would wander up and down long, terraced mezzanines in search of the volume of their choice.
The project never went beyond the drafting stage, but little in the design suggested possibilities of privacy and concentration. Boullee’s magnificent library had the features of a tunnel, and resembled a passageway more than a stopping place, a building less for leisured reading than for rapid consultation.”
– Alberto Manguel,
The Library at Night, p. 139