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Suggestions on Library Architecture

Suggestions on Library Architecture

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Excerpt from Suggestions on Library Architecture: American and Foreign, With an Examination of Mr. Wm; F. Poole's Scheme for Library Buildings

Mr. J. L. Smithmeyer, the architect of the intended building for the Congressional Library, has published a little pamphlet containing an account of the various competitions for the design of the building, as well as a review of the paper of Mr. William F. Poole, of Chicago, upon the construction of library buildings, which excited so much comment in and out of the profession some years ago. Mr. Smithheyer's criticism of this paper is well-considered, and is certainly effective in many points, showing conclusively that Mr. Poole's model plan is anything but an economical one, either in first cost or in the expense of administration, while it fails in its provision of light. For small libraries there are probably advantages in Mr. Poole's arrangement, but for the peculiar requirements, at least of the Congressional Library, it would be, as we have before suggested, quite unsuitable. In speaking of his investigations into the necessary conditions of library constructions, Mr. Shith-meyer makes the remark, which should be remembered by all young architects, that the first consideration in such buildings should be light, the second, heating and ventilation, and the third, security against fire and dampness. All other points, important as they may be, must be regarded as subordinate to these. It is gratifying to have some of the observations of one so competent to make them put in a form to be useful to the profession, and we are only sorry that Mr. Smithmeyer should not have made his book larger. If, as seems likely, his design for the new building should be speedily carried out, we hope that he will collect the special knowledge which he has acquired, or may acquire during its progress, in a permanent work, for the benefit of his fellow architects.

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