Herzog & de Meuron

The building conceived for the two libraries of Jussieu offers a coherent, modular structure, giving an effect of unity. At the heart of this structure, interior halls arranged according to variable planes, whose height sometimes rises several floors, join the public spaces to the non-public spaces. These avenues constitute the determining spatial element of the design: they guarantee the spreading and sharing of daylight, and offer a view of the whole, of all the places, all the while allowing one to orient oneself in the inside of the building through either the horizontal or the vertical articulations. As in traditional architecture, their introverted character is conceived as an expression of calm and concentration (as in monasteries, temples, tea houses).

In this contemporary deployment of the principle of the courts, the presence of particularly marked green spaces (a thin layer of water and of intensely green moss) further reinforces the aspect of a place for reflection and concentration. The façade of the library building is of transparent glass: wooden slats counter the sun’s glare and, at the same time, recall the interior elements of the library – the tables, the ceiling and the floors – also in wood.

The relationship between people and texts constitutes the very essence of this building, determining it as a whole. The façade can be analyzed or read as the expression of this essence. The outer surface of the façades is composed of transparent glass plates (100 / 130cm), on which the portraits of writers and scholars have been silkscreened.

Herzog & de Meuron, 1992




Université de Jussieu, Paris, France
Specialist / Consulting
Computer Animation: Inter Effects AG, Basel, Switzerland
Graphic Consulting: Kazis & Klose, Basel, Switzerland / Frankfurt, Germany


Fernando Márquez Cecilia, Richard Levene (Eds.): “El Croquis. Herzog & de Meuron 1981-2000. Between the Face and the Landscape. The Cunning of Cosmetics. Entre el Rostro y el Paisaje. La Astucia de la Cosmética.” 2nd adv. and rev. ed. Vol. No. 60+84, Madrid, El Croquis, 2005.

Herzog & de Meuron. Natural History.” Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. “Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind.” Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 – 6 April 2003. 2nd ed. Baden, Lars Müller, 2005.

Wilfried Wang: “Herzog & de Meuron.” 3rd adv. and rev. ed. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1998. (= Studiopaperback).

Herzog & de Meuron: “Ornament. Ricola Europe SA., Sportanlage Pfaffenholz, Bibliothek der Fachhochschulen Eberswalde, Griechisch-Orthodoxe Kirche in Zürich, Zwei Bibliotheken für den Campus von Jussieu.” In: Marc Fester, Sabine Kraft, Nikolaus Kuhnert (Eds.) et al. “Archplus. Herzog & de Meuron. Minimalismus und Ornament.” Vol. No. 129/130, Aachen, ARCH+ Verlag GmbH, 12.1995. pp. 25-56.

Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Ernst Hubeli: “Das Selbe und das Besondere. Ein Gespräch mit Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron, neuere Arbeiten.” In: Verlegergemeinschaft Werk, Bauen + Wohnen (Ed.). “Werk, Bauen + Wohnen. Formzwang, Freiheit der Form.” Vol. No. 10, Zurich, Bauen + Wohnen GmbH, 10.1993. pp. 14-31.

Herzog & de Meuron: “Dos Bibliotecas para el Campus de Jussieu, Paris. Two Libraries for the Jussieu Campus, Paris.” In: Fernando Porras-Ysla, Federico Soriano (Eds.). “Arquitectura Coam. Revista del Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid. Magazine of the Association of Architects of Madrid.” Vol. No. 295, Madrid, Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid COAM, 03.1993. pp. 120-122.