Les Pyramides

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"A pyramid is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single point at the top"[1]

A slew of pyramids can be found in all of Paul Otlet's drawers. Knowledge schemes and diagrams, drawings and drafts, designs, prototypes and architectural plans (including works by Le Corbusier and Maurice Heymans) employ the pyramid to provide structure, hierarchy, precise path and finally access to the world's synthesized knowledge. At specific temporal cross-sections, these plans were criticized for their proximity to occultism or monumentalism. Today their rich esoteric symbolism is still readily apparent and gives reason to search for possible spiritual or mystical underpinnings of the Mundaneum.

Pyramide

Paul Otlet (1926):

“Une immense pyramide est à construire. Au sommet y travaillent Penseurs, Sociologues et grands Artistes. Le sommet doit rejoindre la base où s’agitent les masses, mais la base aussi doit être disposée de manière qu’elle puisse rejoindre le sommet.”[2]

Sources

10-tuttaneum.png
Wouter Van Acker. "Architectural Metaphors of Knowledge: The Mundaneum Designs of Maurice Heymans, Paul Otlet, and Le Corbusier." Library Trends 61, no. 2 (2012): 371-396. http://muse.jhu.edu/
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1944-tombe po.jpg
2919380315 ace106c949 o.jpg
5531491159 7d4d4a7ab6 o.jpg
61.2.van-acker01 fig01f.jpg
Wouter Van Acker, 'Opening the Shrine of the Mundaneum The Positivist Spirit in the Architecture of Le Corbusier and his Belgian “Idolators,”' in Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 30, Open, edited by Alexandra Brown and Andrew Leach (Gold Coast,Qld: SAHANZ, 2013), vol. 2, p. 792.
61.2.van-acker01 fig05f.jpg
Wouter Van Acker. "Architectural Metaphors of Knowledge: The Mundaneum Designs of Maurice Heymans, Paul Otlet, and Le Corbusier." Library Trends 61, no. 2 (2012): 371-396.
61.2.van-acker01 fig06f.jpg
Wouter Van Acker. "Architectural Metaphors of Knowledge: The Mundaneum Designs of Maurice Heymans, Paul Otlet, and Le Corbusier." Library Trends 61, no. 2 (2012): 371-396.
61.2.van-acker01 fig07f.jpg
Wouter Van Acker. "Architectural Metaphors of Knowledge: The Mundaneum Designs of Maurice Heymans, Paul Otlet, and Le Corbusier." Library Trends 61, no. 2 (2012): 371-396. http://muse.jhu.edu/
6a00d8342fc47753ef00e54f5144f88834-800wi.jpg
Paul Otlet, Traité de documentation: le livre sur le livre, théorie et pratique (Bruxelles: Editiones Mundaneum, 1934), 420.
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Rayward, Warden Boyd, The Universe of Information: the Work of Paul Otlet for Documentation and international Organization, FID Publication 520, Moscow, International Federation for Documentation by the All-Union Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (Viniti), 1975. (p. 352)
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The Man Who Wanted to Classify the World
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Rayward, Warden Boyd (who translated and adapted), Mundaneum: Archives of Knowledge, Urbana-Campaign, Ill. : Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010, p. 35. Original: Charlotte Dubray et al., Mundaneum: Les Archives de la Connaissance, Bruxelles: Les Impressions Nouvelles, 2008.
La pyramide des bibliographies.jpg
Paul Otlet, Traité de documentation: le livre sur le livre, théorie et pratique (Bruxelles: Editiones Mundaneum, 1934).
Le corbusier pyramide circle.png
Wouter Van Acker, 'Opening the Shrine of the Mundaneum The Positivist Spirit in the Architecture of Le Corbusier and his Belgian “Idolators,”' in Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 30, Open, edited by Alexandra Brown and Andrew Leach (Gold Coast,Qld: SAHANZ, 2013), vol. 2, p. 804.
Le corbusier pyramide perspective.png
Wouter Van Acker, 'Opening the Shrine of the Mundaneum The Positivist Spirit in the Architecture of Le Corbusier and his Belgian “Idolators,”' in Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 30, Open, edited by Alexandra Brown and Andrew Leach (Gold Coast,Qld: SAHANZ, 2013), vol. 2, p. 803.
Le corbusier pyramide spiral.png
Wouter Van Acker, 'Opening the Shrine of the Mundaneum The Positivist Spirit in the Architecture of Le Corbusier and his Belgian “Idolators,”' in Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 30, Open, edited by Alexandra Brown and Andrew Leach (Gold Coast,Qld: SAHANZ, 2013), vol. 2, p. 804.
Les Pyramides
Otlet Mundaneum.jpg
From Van Acker, Wouter, “Internationalist Utopias of Visual Education. The Graphic and Scenographic Transformation of the Universal Encyclopaedia in the Work of Paul Otlet, Patrick Geddes, and Otto Neurath,” in Perspectives on Science, Vol.19, nr.1, 2011, p. 72. http://staging01.muse.jhu.edu/journals/perspectives_on_science/v019/19.1.van-acker.html
Total Pyramide.jpeg
Mundaneum Archives, Mons
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid
  2. Paul Otlet, L’Éducation et les Instituts du Palais Mondial (Mundaneum). Bruxelles: Union des Associations Internationales, 1926, p. 10. ("A great pyramid should be constructed. At the top are to be found Thinkers, Sociologists and great Artists. But the top must be joined to the base where the masses are found, and the bases must have control of a path to the top.")
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