Mundaneum - Mons, Belgium

When the Mundaneum opened in 1910, its purpose was to collect all of the world’s knowledge on neatly organized 3 x 5 index cards. The brainchild of Belgian lawyer Paul Otlet and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henri LaFontaine, the vast project eventually totaled 12 million cards, each classified according to the Universal Decimal Classification system developed by Otlet.

Le Corbusier was one of many prominent figures enthralled by Otlet’s scheme of a “Universal Book.” He described it as a panorama of “the whole of human history from its origins,” and signed on to design an international “city of the intellect,” centered around the Mundaneum.

Keep reading the history of the Mundaneum on Atlas Obscura!