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Archiiecture, Bssai surl'art forms part of'the Boullepapers andnotes.

Thesearebound in onevolume, preceded byan inven-

tory, obituary notice, noteson archtectureand art andreports on competitionsin MSand inprint. Thereatealsodraftsofletters
and several notes.inBoule'sown hand. Frompage40topage 65in theMSisfound thedraftoftheEssai, whichbeginson page
69. Particularly revealingisthedescription ora youngrnan.destined tobean architect, whomBoullesenton.toDavid inorderto
study paintng. Itcorroborates thegenerous and unembittered attitude whichBoulledisplayed upto hisdeath (MS Francais
9J 53p. 38v). Inaddition toanewtranslation ofBoulle'sEssal, itsfirstappearance in English, theoriginalFrench texthas been
included in thisbook.J n arder topreserveitscharacter, theauthentc eighteenthcentury spellinghasbeenmaintaind, although
rnisleadingerrors have been corrected, The accents and punctuation havebeen adapted to present use in order to facilitate
reading, Itistobenotdthat Boulle'sspellingisidiosyncratic, evenfbr theeighteenthcentury.Effethespells withan accentaigu
onthefirst"e", (jofsaG~thsarebothfound inhistext, and hiscapital "S" issmetimes almost indistinguishablefrom thesmall
one. Thegreat number of erasuresmakeit certain that thetext.isinthemaster's own hand, It revealsthe interestinminutedetil
coupled withphilosophical thought socharacteristc of'hisdrawings, Theoriginalpaginationof volume9153ishereshown inthe
insdemargins of'theoriginalFrench versin.
translated by Sheila de Valle
edited and annotated by Helen Rosenau
PartofMS Francai's 9153 Bibliothque Nationale, Pars
by Etienne-Louis Boulle
Architecture, Essay on Art
* Friendsenlightenedby the artsl
I r 1havenot wontheprzefor pleasingyou
I shall at leasthavethehonour of havingtried
they have on our senses, their similaritiesto the human
organismo1flattered myself that ifI went back tothesource
of al! thefinearts I should findnew ideas and thus establish
principles that would beall themorecertain for havingtheir
source innature.
You who are fascinated by the fine arts, surrender
yourselves completely to all thepleasure than this sublime
passion can procure! No .other pleasure is sopureoItisthis
passon that makes us love to study, that transforms our
painintopleasure and, withitsdivineflame, forces geniusto
yieldupits oracles, I n short, it isthis passion that summons
us to irnmortality.
Itsto you whocultivatethearts that 1dedicate thefruits
of f11Y longvigils; to youwho, withall your learning, areper-
suaded=-and doubtless rightly so--that we must not
presumethat all wehaveleft I S toimitate theancients! J udge
for yourselves whether I have understood what no one
beforeme, to my knowledge, has attempted to understand.
"Amis clairs des arts!
S i deVOusagrer je n'emporte leprix,
j'aurai du moinl'bonneur del'avoir entrepris'?
La Fontaine"
Dominated by anexcessivelovefor my profession, 1have
surrendered myself to it completely. But although 1have
yielded to this overweaning passion, 1have made it arule
that 1shall work for the benefit of society and thus merit
public esteem.
1should confess straightaway that 1haverefused to con-
finemyself totheexclusivestudy of our ancient masters and
havenstead tried, through thestudy of Nature to broaden
my ideas on my profession which, after much thought, 1
consider to bestill inits infancy,
What little attention has been paid in the past to the
poetry of architecture, which is a S UTemeans of adding to
inan's enjoyment and ofbestowng on artists thefamethey
That is rny belief. Our buildings-and our public
buildings in particular-e-should be to sorne extent poems.
The impression they make on U8. should arouse in us sen-
sations that correspond to the function of the building in
question. Itseemedto methat if I wasto incorporate inmy
Architecture all the poetry of which it was capable, then I
should study thetheory of volumes and analysethem, at the
sametimeseekingto understand their properties, thepower
To MenwhocultivatetheArts ,
most educated men shared Prault's opnon.'
And now Reader, let meask you, "Am1not tesorneex-
tent justified inmaintaining that architecture isstill initsin-
fancy, for wehave no clear notion ofits basic principies?"
In common with all educated men, 1admit that tact and
sensibilty can result inexcellent work. 1admit that evenar-
tists who have not acqured suffcient knowledge to search
out the basic principies at the root of their art will
nevertheless becompetent, providedthey areguidedby that
gift of Nature that permits men to choose wisely.
. But it is nonetheless true that there arefewauthors who
haveconsidered archtecture fromthe artistic point of'view;
what 1mean isthat fewauthors have attempted to study in
-depththat sideof archtecture that I term art, inthe strict
sense of the word. Wehave sorne precepts based on good
exarnples but these arefewand far between.
Vitruvius's commentator" does inforrn us that a
prerequisite of architecture is aknowledge of'those sciences
related to geometry, such as Mechancs, hydraulics and
astronomy, and also Physics, Medicine, etc. He concludes
byaskng.for sorneknowledgeof thefinearts. Bu, if'wecon-
sider that science and thefinearts both have their placein
architecture considered as art, and since, moreover, Prault
defines his architectureas-rfantastic", Franeois Blondel in
hisrebuttal has.norprcved thecontrary, andnor hasanyone--
elseupto thepresent; if wesucceed indscoveringthat basic
principies of architecture and what is their source, then 1
believethat, without rashness, wecan conclude that these
principies have remained unknown or at least have been
neglected by those who have discovered them,
1have met competent men who haveobjected that since
the discussion between Prault and Francois Blondel had
degenerated intoaquarrel andthat they weretherefore over-
comebyanger and aspirit of rivalry, no conelusion should,
under thecircumstances, bebased ontheir pronouncements
for Perault's true opinions werecertainly very differentfrorn
those heprofessed,5However, oneof thosewho had spoken
thus confessed that thequestion wasdifficultto solve. At the
Academy, I heard himread a memorandum debating this
queStionwithout corning any closer to asolution.
When contemplating the Peristyle of the Louvre in the
company of other Architeds, 1haveonoccasion chosenthe
moment whenthey werelos inadmiration at its beaty to
declare a completely opposite opinion. As you can well ime
agine, they asked me to explain myself. Then 1reminded
themof Peratilt's opinion. 1said tothem, "Yo admirethis
work of art but the architect himself has admitted that it is
based on pure fantasy and owes nothing whatsoever to
nature. Your admiration is therefore the result of a par-'
ticular point of viewand youshould not besurprisedto heat _._
it criticized, for theso"calledbeauty that youfindinithasno
~llllext!;m with na{ure; which Is the soufce of al! true
~I!qty." 1added, "You may admire thetechniques used in
its construction and 1admit that it IS acompetent construc-
tion, evenoileofGenius, bu in viewofthe architect's oWn
What is architecture? Shall 1join Vitruvius indefiningit
asthe art of building? Indeed, no,for thereisaagrant error
inthisdefintion. Vitruvius mistakes theeffectfot thecause.
In order to execute, itis first necessary to conceive. Our
earliest ancestors built their huts only when they had apie-
tureof theminther mnds. Itisthisproduct ofthe mind, this
process of creation, that constitutes architecture and which
can consequently be defined as the art of designing and
brnging to perfecton any buildingwhatsoever. Thus, the
art of construction 1S merely an auxiliary art which, inour
opinion, could appropriately be called the scientific sideof
Art, inthe true sense of'.theword, and scence, these we
believehave their placein architecture,
The majority of Authors writing on this subject confine
themselves to discussing thetechnical side.That isnatural if
we think about ita .little, Itwas necessary to study safe
building methods before attempting to build attractively.
And sincethetechnical sideisof paramount importance and
consequently the most essential, it was natural that ths
aspect should bedealt with first.
Moreover, it must beadmitted that thebeauty of arr can-
not be demonstrated like a mathematical truth; although
this beauty isderived fromnature, 10senseit and apply it
fruitfully certain qualites are necessary and nature is not
very generous withthem.
What do wefindinBooks on architecture? Ruins of an-
cient temples that we know were excavated in Greece.
However perfect these examples may be, they are not
suffieientto provide acomplete treatise on arto
Vitntvus's commentator Iists for us everything an
architect should know. According to the commentator, his
knowledge must beuniversal.
in Francois Blondel's pompous prefacewefindadescrip"
tion of theexcellenceof architecture. The author informs us
that to punish his people God threatenedthem with taking
away their architects. 1haveheard Witsexclaim, "Youmust
beamong thechosenfewtodaretotake upthat profession!"
Reader, you Willbeastonished to learn thatneither inthis
pompous preface nor in Vitruvius's commentator do 1find
anyindication ofthe meaning of architecture. Whafis more,
neither of these authors has any notion of the basic prin-
cipies on which their profession is based. My opinion may
offendsornepeople to begin with; but it is easilyjustifiable
for my suggestion is in fact taken frorn one of the two
authors just quoted.
You are familiar with the famous quarrel between
Perault, the architect of the Peristyle of the touvre and
Fran90is Blondel, the arcruted of the Porte StoDenis. the
former denied that architectUre hlid its source in nature:
he called it fantastic art that. was pure invention. When
Fran90is Blnaertried to refute Petault's opinion, the
arguments heusedwereso weak that thequestion rernained
unsolved. When 1raised itagain, 1dd not get any satisfac"
tory anSwer. On the contrary, 1soon became aware that
admission, 1believethat when you think you are admiring mortal .statuary of Greece,offer usgods thatincorporate all
what you call thebeauty of its architecture, you areinfact the majestic beauty of the human race; whether they
admiring what your eyeis accustomed to insomething that succeed in gathering arich harvest fromthe vast storethat
has no true beauty." My colleagues stammereda fewwords Nature has provided for themand their names are handed
without givingmeananswer. 1was not surprised for itisnot down gloriously to posterity, theY--C1fil procure pure hap-
easy to explain what the beauty of the Peristyle of the piness by themselves and every one of them isjustified in
Louvre or ofany other monument has to do withNature,if saying,,"AH my fame 1oweto myself alone."
one has not given deep thought to the matter, What does These aretheincomparable joys and incalculable advan-
surprise meisthat no onehas triedto elucidateanobjection tages of whichtheyoung Architect isdeprivedfor histalents
of such importance. wouldremain buriedifhe devotedall histimeto Study. Heis
" * :\Y_hat, then, has impeded the progress of that part of obligedto sacrifcethelatter ifhe isto becomewell knownto
a~ct.ur.e_con.-einea witliJ mJ i1-fhest:rtcnel!.se~()fJ h~ those in power, without whose goodwill he cannot develop
~ This is clear to me. _ _ bis talento
For an art to attain perfection, it isnot sufficientthat the This is without doubt an abundant source of acute pan
men who practise it loveit passionately. Itis also vital that and bitter regret to those who carepassionately about their
there beno impediment to thestudies they must undertake. profession; and so1wasnot surprised when1heard tell that
Their geniusmust beableto spread itswingsfreely andthey a very competen! man, who had suffered the privations 1
must beencouraged by theexpectation that their effortswill have described, was in the throes of the deepest despair. 1
berewarded. would not be surprised either ifsome architects thought 1
Let us imagine now that ayoung Architect makes sorne was exaggerating. But 1 am sure'that such men would
progress and begins to make aname for himself andto win bearchitects innameonly andthat joy tothemwouldmean
theconfidenceofthe PublicoHewill beoverburdened witha wealth.
stack of requests anddetailsof all kindsandforcedtodevote However, suppose we assume for a moment that my
all histimetothecontracts which aregivenhim. Becausehe opinions areinsornerespects falseoSuppose weassumethat
is continually busy withtheprocedures made necessary by an arcbitect is inthe most advantageous position possible,
the confidence shown in him, the artist can no longer con- Le. hehas talent, money and patrons. Such advantages are
tribute to the progress of his art and consequently cannot extremely diffcult to come by all together and where will
hope to winthe true glory to which he could have aspired. they lead him?
Hecanoot givesuffeenttimetothestudy ofhis art andthus Itis afact that whenthemost straightforward individual
finds himself forced to abandon it. You will say that the starts to build, he sorely tries the patience of his architect,
architect should refuselucrative business soas to beableto withwhose deoisions lerarely concurso
pursue his purely theoretical st'gdies; Alas! Who would It is also afact that those in high places who givecon-
willinglysacrfceafortune thatis offeredhimandwhich, in tracts for public monuments are not in general any more
many cases, hedesperately needs? Youwill say that such a amenable than private individuals. And so what happens?
sacrifice should be easy in viewof the expectation that he" What happens isthatthe arcbitect findsthat heisobliged to
will one day be commissioned to build several great obey orders fromaboye and abandon hisbest ideas. Whatis
buildings. But how can he really believe in such expec- rmore,-ifthearchitectis very gifted, bisprojects will beeven1
tations? The opportunities are so few. Howcan hebe.sure 'i less acceptable to his judges who will not be sufficientJ y '. ,~
ten or fifteenyears in advance that his services will beused enlightened to either understand or appreciate thebeauty of ~<.
by those inpower at thetime. Youwill perhaps reply that a L~sT.dheeSiggIP.ftSe .. d architeot will not beunderstood and this wl' .. 11 .\~.
worthy man has theright to expect just .that. And 1would
answer you, "Will justice bedone? Can hereally expect to cause hima thousand irksome setbacks; ami if hewants to .
be given preference?" 1 credit patrons with the utmost keep his position, then hemust refrain fromany resistance; \
honesty and thepurest intentions andyet ad- hemust not listento the voiceofhis genius but descend to -;.
mit that ther lack of knowledge often leads them to aet \_-.!he level of those he must please, 11is evident that this
blindly, and that it is a lucky chance whenthey choose flexibilityis difficulttofindinanexceptionalman; and since
competent manoHowmany timespreference hasbeen given in architecture, there is often a curbon genius, as wehave
to ignorant schemers at the expense of worthy men who demonstrated, it isconsequentIy verydifficultto findagifted
spend their timeworking and do not scheme! architect in a position, where he .can produce good
How preferable sthefateofPainters andmenofletters!6 architecture. '. _'
They are freeand independent; they can choose their sub- An architect cannever besurethathe will begiventheop-
J ects and follow the bent of their genius. Their reputation portunity todevelophis tmly superior geniusby beingmade
depends on nOone but themselves. They have exceptional responsble fm one of those public buildings that should
talent? Then no human force can prevent it flowering, bringglory to thecountry that has ordered themand should
_Whether theydistinguish themselves in theW<lYof all g'elit arOUset)leadmiration of a1lconnoisse).lfs.
menwho arouse our admiration; whether they fil1our helirts J fhe succeeds inbeing <;hosentobeginsuchaproject, will
withvoluptuous. pieasure asLucretius didwithheaqy words he be permitted to complete it? What a sorry example W e
or whether they say with Correggio, "1too amapainier", h<lvebefore us in the. heart of our capital city. How many
they enchant us with the grace of their inimitable pictures. centuries ago did work beginon the palace of the Louvre!
Whether, by vying wit)l the genius of Raphael who gaveliS For example,the fa;adegivingontotheTuileries Gardens,
the sublme imlige of the Creator unr<lvellingchaos, they what arhapsody! The centre ffOllprojection isby different
hold all our fa(:ultiesinsuspense lind, inimitation ofthe im- hands whoseindividual styles are easily recognizable. The
(Q.rmlhati-Rllre inventi!!:__~_
If by the strength of his mind artd the techniques it
devises, a rhan could arouse in us with his art those sen~
sations we' experience when we look at nature, such art
wouldhefarsuperior toanything that wepossess,for weare"
The Present Problem
Is ieferyf~ntasti~art ~el~ngingtootherealm'\ ?
of pure mVention oc are ItSbaStc pnnclples denved from ~.
Nature? ...J
Allowmefirst of a1lto cha11enget~existence of a~ a!.!___,
ofthe discussion that oceurredbetween Prault, architect of
the Peristyle ofthe LOuvre, and Fran90is BlondeJ , architect
of the Monument at the Porte StoDenis
the comparison you are suggesting?" "What! They are
comparable with the creations of the Divine Being ... the
DivineBeing!" criedthe young painter, "If hewould come
down toearth and deignto stoop so 10wasto useonly'the
means at our dsposal, then, Sir, you wouldhavea far ap-
preciation ofour great men." Wecoldnot but percevethe
truth's outburst, Supposingthat wehadno
knowledge of an artst's techniques and had never seen
anyone paint. If wewerehanded apalette aftr'seeingapie-
turethat was sotrueto lifethat wecould not believettobe
real=-such pictures do exist-we would not believethat it
was possible to create withso titile, something that had
madesucha vividimpression onusoHowisit possibletoim-
aginethat withfiveor sxdifferent colours, themultitude of
colours, the nuances, a11the effects of nature can be
reproduced! How is'that man can convey the warmth and
freshness ofthe ar, canreproduce theeffectsoflight?How
-canhehave succeededin drawngthepassions that moveus
and by revealingthemtousaliveonthecanvas, make usfeel
themin our very being?
~- Perhaps, you will object, thatif'indeed architects havenot
acquired the high degree of perfection that other artists
appear to have.attained, this may bebecause thelatter have
the advantage that their art is close to nature and con-
sequently more likelyto rnoveuso
1wouldreply-that-this isthevery queston 1amtrying to
answer; that what 1understandby art is ey'_~I"Y!l1in.K,thaf
aims at imiJ atingn.atute; thatno atchrtect has attempted the
..'task.I haveundertaken; ,andthat ir1succeed; as1dare hope
1shall, in proving that architectute, asfaras 1tsrela:tions
~tut:e-ate_~nce-#.!~a~.J 1a~~1ip$,!!!l;~Y~!l,];r~ater~~-
vantage than th.e_other arts-then you wIll have to admlt
1lat if arcmtecfure liis-nfihade as many advances as the
other arts, theblamedoesnot liewithArcmtects aJ orre,ror"1
consider, they have an excuse on the grounds of the
obstacles listed wmch have hampered and continue to
hamper arcmtecture inits progress towards perfection.
God forbid that it is my intention to offend the dis-
tinguished Architects of this age. 1respect and lovethem
andthehighesteeminwhichI holdtheroleads metobelieve
that they wiIl listen, without displeasure, to the words of a
Iilanwhose soleaimisto contribute to the advancement of
hisprofession. If1am mistaken, m)' ideas will hurt no one
but myself; ishould not be suspected of bad intentions. lf,
011the e011trary, r have understood certain truths, then 1
shall certainly not upset ,disngished men, who have
always considered truth with loveand respecto
b~ck projecti0I} and the comer pavilions are also by
different architcts, Itseems to methat this Palace can be
compared to apoem, each part of which is composed by a
different poet, .
But, you. wi11say, i11spite ofall these irnpediments to
progress, wedo have masterpieces that areevidenceofthe
beauty of architecture anddemonstrate theperfection ithas
attained, My ownviews on this will be revealed Iater and,
meanwhile, 1 will merely state that if .archtecture had
acquired the perfection attained by the other arts, and if
there were as beautiful examples, we would not today be
reduced to trying to establish whether architecture has its
source in nature or whether tis pure invention. 1can cer-
tainly maintain, without fear of shocking anyone, that a
demonstration is clearly needed sincethe architect of the
Peristyle of the Louvr considers that aIl famous
monuments are merely products ofthe imagination.
1feel 1must confess straightaway that 1myself belive
that thereisagreatdi.~encebetween architectural master-
pieces and those .whictti~rouse our admiration in Painting,
sculpture and Poetry,?This s a consequence of the obser-
vations 1have made aboye on the advantages of the Poet
and the Painter. TheIatter have not been hampered intheir
choice of subject; they have exhausted every subject,
whereas in the whole of Europe we can find vefy few
examples of beautiful architecture, And so, if we want to
affirmthat architecture 1Stheeqyal ofthe other arts,what
ptooIdo wehave?lt iscertainthat for thepurposes ofcom-
parison there are nowhere near as many masterpieces in
architecture asintheother arts andthat it isonlypossibleto
rheasure the succesS of an art thtough the plethora of
experiments ofall kinds.
iamreminded of arather curious conversation. 1was in
thecountry withan art Iover and ayoung Painter. WeWere
taking a walk together wMediscussing paintingS and1Was
Speaking to 'the art lover. 1 exto11edooe of the most
Toeautiful] pietures of Vovhemens that we had seen
together. ~s this picture had givenmeenormous pleasure, 1
Waspraislilg it passionately. The art J over remained un-
rhoved. Nooneis moreexactingihan aman whois not con-
versant with a given att for he Isunable to imagine a11the
difficultiesthearlist has had toovercome. Hehasnopityror
himand believes that everything is possible, The art lover
pointed to nature and said ironically, "Vovhermens has
forgotten so much." 1quickly teplied, "You are paying
Vovhermens a greater tribute than you realize when you
compare the works of that gredt master to nature. Do you
really tmnk that the work of hulilblemortals can withstand
\r -..
theimpression that objects makeonusbytheir clarity, w:i1a~~'.
!!!!lkes-u~LI)gleoy_t.J ".egu~lI-cpartic_u1ads.t~_Q,t
that t~ul~d their symmetry representorder, and
ordejs..cla~ -c._c,~_c ~,._.-~ ---------.-
~ is obvious from the aboye-renrarks that man had no
clear idea ofthe shape f volumes before hediscovered the
concept of regularity.P
Once1hadobserved that theshapeof aregular volumeis!.d ...vv.~ ar..iet..\th.enl.un-
derstoo? thatyroportiQ~~ori:@J 1atiorl of these
Bytheproportion of'avolume, 1meantheeffectproduced
by its regularity, its symmetry and its variety. Regularity
gives it>a,_).:leau1iM._s~(!, symllle!ry_giyC!s, .. _ lLQr~.l!Lill1
l?roportion, vari~!y__gLvesi(pIanes,-that diversify as weIook
--ll~m._ lhs the cornbination and-Ulerespective concord
which are the result of all these properties, give rise to
volumetric harmony.
_c_cFor example, asPherecanbeconsidered asincorporating
all theproperties of volumes, Every point on its surface is
equidistant fromits centre, Theresult of this unique advan-
tage is that from whatever angle welook at it, no optical
effect can ever spoil the magnificent beauty of its shape
which, to our eyes, will always beperfecto
The sphere provides the solution to a problem which
might be considered a paradox, if it. had not been
geometrically preved that a sphere is an undenable
polyhedron, This paradox isthat themost.infnite variety is
derived fromthe most perfect symmetry. For ifwe assume
that the surface of our globeis divided.intodifferent points,
only oneof thesepoints wiIl appear perpendicular to it and
therest will b at amultitude of different angles.
The sphere has other advantages: it offers the greatest
possible surface to the eye and this lends it majesty. It has
thesimples! possibleforrn.the beauty of'which derives from
its uninterrupted surfaee; and, in addtion to all-these
qualifies, ithas grace for its outline and is as smooth and
fiowingas it could possibly be.
T~oJ ?-lusiol1-f sUthese observationsis that asphere
~alLr.espects,J he111age ofperfection. 1tcombines strict
symmetr_)':with the most pe~f~cJ Ieg_ularityand thegteat~st
pQssbevaI'i~~y; its formlii developed to ihefltsf extet
arrd is the simplest that exists; its shape is outlined by the
most agreeable contour and, finaIly, the light effects that it
produces are so beautifuIly graduated that they could not
possibly besofter, more agreeableor morevaried. Theseun-
iqueadvantages, whichthespherederivesfromnature, have
an immeas'urablehold over our senses.
A great man (Montesquieu) once said, "Symmetry is
pleasing because tis the image of clarity and because the
mind, whichisalways seekingunderstanding, easiiy acepts
and grasps aU ihat is symmetrical."13 1 wouId add that
symmetry is pleasing because it is the image of order and
Variety, is pleasing because it satisfied a spirituaI need
which, by its very nature, likes to be. stimulated and
sustained by what isnew. And itisvariety that makesthings
appear newto usoIt therefore followsthat variety puts new
lifeinto OUT facuItiesby offeringus newpieasures anditis as
pleasing to us in the objects that are part of any given
volume, asit isinthelight effects soproduced.
Grandeur, too, always pleases us whatever form it takes
TIpr_e.ssion ..
How is it that we can recognize the shape of a regular
volume at a glance? Itis because it is simplein form, its
planes are regular and it repeats itself. But sincewegauge
Onthe EssentialQuality o[Vol1Jmes.On their properties. On-
their analogy with the human organisml1 .
In my serch to discover the properties of volumes and
their analogy withthehuman organism, 1beganby studying
thenature of sorneirregular volumes. .
What 1sawwere massesW'th-convex, concave, angular
or planimetric planes, etc., etc. Next 1reaIized that the
xatious ~~IJ 1()Urs_ofthe planes ofthese volumesdeflnedtheir
shape and deterrnm-eotheir formo1also perceived inthem
tfie-corifsion (1cannot Say variety) engendered by the
number and complexity of their irregular planes.
Weary of the mute sterility of irregular volumes, 1
proceeded to study regular volumes. What 1first not_edwas
their reguIarity, their symmetry and their variety; and 1
perceived that that was what constituted their shape and
their formoWhat ismore, 1realizedthatre~l,Ilarityalonehad
givenman a clear c9ncepiTonof theshape' of volumes, and'
sohegave tMmadefinition which, as wesnill see, reimIted
not only from their regularity and symmetry but also from
their variety. .. .
Anirregularvolurne iscqmposed ofa multtude of planes,
each of themdifferent and, as1have observed aboye, it les
beyond OUT grasp. ThenU111ber andcomplexity ofthep1anes
lave. uQthing, distiCti6oiiC-them' l1dc'gve a c?Ilfused
.... :...~
lrnited to more or lessimperfect limitations. But there isno
art that wecan create alone, for if such art existedit would
mean that the DivineBeing, thecreator of Nature, had en-
dowed us with a quality that is part of His own essential
What, therefore, could Prault have meant by apurely in-
-" ventiveart? Don't wederiveaIl our ideas fromnature? And
i does_not~Qr~_forceful_m-~er i p _ w_4ic~.~
senses arereminded of nature~
-TConhink ofariyfclrr of fant~ art witho~m-
a~s:t.mco11eCteaKl(ras:CattereOere an~J here
inno order, aberratlons -Of1lierrund~ifslron, dreams.The
Architect and engraver Pranesi was responsible for sorne
such follies. Caricatures were invented by Italian painters.
The famous engraver Callot has done many grotesque
figures. The ancients created chimeras, etc., etc., etc.?
All these creations of the imagination are misleading.
what do we perceive in such works -l!t,__Il_!l,tural objects.
=-exaggerated and disfigured it is tre--but natural
objects aIl the same, Does that provetheexistenceof an art
based on pure invention? To havetheright to advance this")
allegedpossiblity, it would benecessary to prove thatlIlen(
l;f>uIdconceve ofimages that bore no re1ationto natural
~s. But it isbeyond all question that no ideaexiststhat
_doe~ot4erive frornnatur;
Let us listen to lfmo-aern-Philosopher who tells us.i''All
our ideas, all our perceptions come to us via external
objects. Extemal objects make different mpressons on us
according to whether they are moreor less analogous with
the human organism.v'? 1should add that we consider
"beautiful' those objects that most resemble the human
organism and that we reject those' which, lacking this
resemblance, do not correspond to thehuman condition.
Since the feast of Corpus-Christi~as celebrated by the
Christia.ns, cah bemore inagruficent than any other feast; it
seemsto inethat weshould ensure that iti8as splendid as
possible by making it a truly unique celebration; I believe
Monument lor (he reziliration 01Corpus-Ch'risti
The aim of teligious cerenlOruesis to ihduce a state of
profound reverence. Itis therefore necessary to use ev'ety
possiblemeans ofinducing grandeur and majesty.
----=--=---.... -_, .. "",-......-.,_
. .
~rograIl1meSintended.taestablish that the Study of Nature lS
necessary toarchitecture
fourth or fifth, etc., without adhering to therules governing
chords, Itisjust thesamewhenthey arecombined to create
greater harrnony: whether theseLaws are the result of an i
analogy with the human organism 01' whether they have
their source in nature, the ensuing sounds have made us
realizethat it isimpossibleto deviatefromthemwithout the
result grating on our ears. This preves that the harmonic _.--
ratio istheprimary lawgoverningthebasic principies of'the
art of music, for it provides the sole means of'-producing
Whatthen stheprimary lawohwhicharchitectural prin-
ciplesare based?
Let us consider anexampleof Architecture that has been
imperfectly observedand lacks proportion. Thiswill certain-
ly bea defect but the defect will not necessarily besuch an
eyesore that wecannot bear to lookat theBuilding; and nor
will it necessarily havethe sameeffectonour eyesthatadis-
cord has on our ears.
In.architecture a Iack of proportion 'is not generally very
obvious except tothe eyeof the connoisseur. Itisthus. evi-
~dentthat although proportion is one of the rnost important
elements eonstituting beauty in architecture, it is not. the
primary lawfrom which its basic principies derive. Let us
try, therefore, to discover what it isimpossble notto admit
in architecture, and that fromwhich there can beno devia-
tion without ~creatngareal eyesore,
Let usimagine aroan withanosethat isnot inthemiddle
of his face, with eyes that are not equidistant, .onebeing
'. higher than theother, and whoselimbs arealso ill-matched,
It s certain that we would consider such a roan hideous,
Here wehaveanexample-that can readily beappliedto the
subject underdiseussion. If'weimaginea Palacewith anoff-
centre front projection, with no syrnmetry and with win-
dows set at varying intervals and dfferent heights, the
overall impression would be one of confusion andit is cer"
tain that to Oureyes such abuilding wouldbebothhideous
and intolerable.
It iseasy for thereader to surmisethat the,basif. ruleand
theo~thaigy_g~les of arcllitecture, Qminates
~~Y _!lndal~o~~at~nyd~~i~~i~n~~~fm~!E11
arehitectUl:.~ S-aSlil~oncelvable. 8,_~~ye the
jJ li.esof harmon.till music.
=Th~reis O'doub~y disparity inan att based onthe
principies of Parity istepugnant.~ns.
.aretrue and~e. Theslightest dlsorder, theslightest confu-
sion becomes iI1tolerable. Order must be in evidence and
paramount in any compsition based on symmetry. In~
short, the wheel ofreason shouldneve!'desert aharchilect's
genius for he should always make a rule of the excellent
maxim, "Nothing is beautiful if aUisnot judicious."
for we are ever eager to increase our pleasure and wouldlike
to embracethe Universe.
Pinally, the image of Grace is one which, deep in our
hearts, is the most pleasing of all,
Now we have preved that the proportions and harmony
of any given volume have their source in nature, we shall
. return to our consideraton of Prault's assertion as twhat
constitute thebasic principies of architecture.
Examination 01the Thesis 01Prault on the basic Principies
Prault compares the principiesof architecturewith those
of music; he suggests that the beauty of both liesincorrect
proportions, and goes on to concede that music is an art
because harmony has itssourceinnature. But heclaims that
it would bevain to try and prove that there arein architec-
tureinproportions that also havetheir sourcein natureand
it is for this reason that he considers himself justified in
maintaining that architecture s fantastic artbased on pure
IfPrault had admitted that .harmony was derivednature
and had for this reason suggested that music was not fan-
"tastic art before thediscovery that harmony hadits source
in nature-a discovery we owe lo the scienoes+-then he
wouldhavesaid about music exactly what hehas saidabout
architecture. But hewouldhavebeenmistaken. Por thesen-
sibilityof man produced harmony beforethis discovery was
made, Musicians didnot knowthat harmony hadits source
innature. Eventoday many excellent musicians pay scarce-
ly any attention to this question; but their indifferenceis in
no way prejudicialto the development of their talents.
Itis obvious that Prault's assertion was made without
due consideration. As 1havealready stated, artists can
produce excellent works of art guidedonly bytheir sensibli-
ty without any studies to determine the basic principies of
14eir art (by going back to its very roots) Prault and
Pran90is Blondel provemypoint. They weredoubtless com-
petent architects, and yet they falsely appliedtheprincipies
of music to architecture; they did.notrealizethat these arts
bear no relation to one another and have no analogy and
that their basic principies. arethus totally different.
Consideration 01kow we can with certitude define the basic
principies 01an art aftd ofarchitecture in particular
What constitute to perfection the principies of any given
att arethose principies fromwhich no deviation ispossible.
Por example, in music no harmony ispossible ifthe rules
arenot folloWed.For it isimpos8ibleto produce any chord
at aHwithout following the correct progression of notes. It
would be vain to try and produce a chord of a third, or
benefactors. "
Where can such ideas beput into effect? To whomCan
such anoble, such aworthy task beentrusted? To architec-
ture. Itis atask for an architect to fhoose aplacewherehe
can make a museum that incorpcrtes all the scattered
beautes of nature and where, in addition, wefind.allthat is
useful toIifeandthus all that canservetoprolong life.Final-
Iy, the architect of this beautiful place would demonstrate
the command of his art, which lies in the use hemakes of
nature. Hereinthis placehewould, soto speak, givebirthto
new delights at every step. We would experience the most
profound pleasure at the sight of these charrning gardens
that resemble the Elysian Fields described by the Poets of
antiquity and now brought into beingthrough architecture,
The charrn of these beautiful Lakes mirroring nature and
multiplyng our pleasure and aJ l the vistas that they offer us
giveinfinitevariety to all beforeusoThetragic appearance of
thick woods andgloomy forests, wherethelack of'light gives
us theimpresson that nature isinmourning and wherethe
unpleasant noiseof astream surging fromthedepths of'the
earth rnakes usthink that what wehear aregroans, givesus
the opposite sensation and makes what is agreeable seem
ever more delightful, Moreover, sombre scenes do not
always make us sad. The grandeur of Nature raises our
spirits and always gives us pleasure. When man is looking
down on the earth from agreat height and seesit eludehis
gaze, heisdazzled by thebrillianceand beauty .ofall before
mmand, rejoicing in its vastness, heis in ecstasy, Finally,
everything in nature would be lavshed and, so to speak,
exhausted inthis delightful place made by man, who found
nothing but pleasure inthehardest toil.
On.thebasis of thevarious scenesthat wehaveattempted
to describeandwhichareanintegral part ofthe monuments
described aboye, it iseasy toconclude that whenVitruvius's
commentator" definesarchitecture asthe art ofbuilding, he
is speaking like.awork;man, not an Artist weUversed-inhis
calling; it isasif aplayer ofmusic compared histalent with
that of the c0rrlPoser of the music.
Itis obvious that Vitruvius was familiar only with the
technical sideof architecture. That a least iswhat hisdefini-
tion proves; if I confinedmyselfto considering architecture
//only inthe light of Vitruvius's tenets, 1belieye.amore valid
definiliQ_lLW_Q.11lQ_g~LQ[~_Rerspectives throl!&L
; ~e~nLQJ . v()ll,tmes.But when we CQi1Si.aei the
--scopeof architecture, weperceivethat itisnot ollIytheart of
creating perspectives through the arrangement of volumes
but that italso comprises aknowledgeofhow tocombineaH
thescatteredl>eautiesof nature andtomakethemelfective.l
cannot repeat too oftenthat anarchitect must makeelfective
Itisimpossible to cre~tearchitectural imagery without a
les innatural elfects. That isw at makes architecture anart
andthat art sublime. Architectural imagery iscreated when
a project has Ii specific character which generates the
required impact. -
that there should be a place and a monument specifically
assignedtothecelebration of'this feast and yet, evenwithall
the resources of art and genius, it will never attain the
magnifcence that such a subject calls foroIn order to give
the monument that 1amdescribing the requisite dignity, 1
would first choose for it a high place dominating a city:
Mount Valerius, for example, or Montmartre near Pars."
There 1would instal a general seminary; and in this holy
place inhabited by the most worthy mnisters of ReligioIl,
who lead pure, innocent young souls to heaven, here, 1
repeat, would be the most suitable location for the monu-
ment for the celebration of Corpus-Christi, If all the
arrangements were suitably impressive, the celebration
would beboth splendidandmagnificent; the wholewouldbe
decorated with all that is most beautiful in nature; the
buildings would be mere accessories, the base of the
repository formed by asuperb open-sided Templecrowning
the mountain topoThe Temple precincts would oonssr of
fieldsof flowersexudingtheir sweet smell likeincenseolfered
to theDivineBeing. Magnificent avenues oftrees wouldline
paths laid out iri such a way that processions and
ceremonies would everywhere be perfectly visible. These
avenues wouldnot only connect all the buildings and serve
as decoration but also shelter the procession of ministers
during the ceremony, These .avenueswould lead to fertile
fieldswhere alI the earth's useful crops-would befound, In
themidst ofthese auspicious fieldsnatufe'sfirst crops would
be offered to God and thus thanks would be given to the
Supreme Being for his blessings. Itis from here that the
singingof Hymns givingthanks would bear to theHeavens
the adoration and vows of virtuous rnortals, .
Thisbeautiful placewouldbetheJ mage of all that ensures
our well-being;it wouldfiUour hearts withasenseofjoy and
would befor us atrue earthly Paradise.
Thebeauty of theplaceandthelarge throng inattendance "
would aIso serve to make. the celebra1on even more im"
pressive! Religious ministers, pure and nnocent youth, a
gathering of amultitude of men all filIedwithjoy-all these
would make this celebration not only moving in its
magnificencebut truly heavenly.
Monument ofpublic gratitude
If ~imagine anation that isboth sensitiveand generous,
and governed by men who truly merit thetitleguardians of
thefatherland, I must alsoassumethat such anation will be
eager to demonstrate its love and gratiturle towards its
benefactors. I dare say Such'll,nation will want to convey
these feelings in the form of a monument that will bear
witness to themfor Posterity. How easy it isto understand
but howdifficulttodescribe all that weexpect whenwehear
theresplendent titleMonument ofpublic gratitude.
It seems to methat this monument should belocated ina
place endowed with aUthebeauties of nature, with all that
serves to preserve life, soihat it will seemto say to all who
visit it, "Here before Jiou are all the riches with which lhe
Nation wouldlike loprolong and brighten the daJisleft lo its
Character, 0'tJ '-;,/y.
/A r ~ rr
~i(l' '/ "s~
Letus consider anobject. Our first reaction s, ofcourse, What a sad time! The torch of heaven has disappeared!
tl!(!I'esul of how the objectJ affects .us. And what I call Darkness 18all around us! Hideous winter comes and chills
haracte .isthee ec the ob'ect wrufumkes sornekind our heartsl Itis brought by theweather! Night followsinits
oTimp.ression-on..m. ~ . ~".~; wake, unfurlsher sombre shades over andspreads
_:;;:;;:-~b~ character is to make judcial~ darkness everywhere, 'fhe shning crystal of tile ocean is
evety meims ~ucmg no other sensatjons.than.thnse already tarnished by the blast of the north wind. What
felated tothesubjecCftiordefloUl1de'tStid what 1meanby remains of the pleasant forest are no more than skeletons
the character orexPected effect of different objects, Iet us , and nature isin mournng, The image of the good lifehas
takealook at someofthcl'beauties ofnatute_and_.wt}.shall-se~ faded to besucceeded by that ofdeath! Everything has lost
t~e are rorce to expres:s()urselv_esmaccotdncewith its brllance and colour, forms sag, outlines are hard and
tl~-~ffectJ h~y-:_haYe.ori-:oui::Sl<n~es: . . - .'.". angular and to our eyesthe denuded earth resemblesan all
'What a charming spedadeuenghtsour eyes! What an embracing tomb! . . . . I
agreeableday!How pleasant it is! Theimage of agoodlife . Oh, Nature! Howtrue itisthat youarethe bookof'books, i
extends over the whole Earth! Nature 1Sbedecked withthe universal k11owledge!No, wecando nothing wthout you! )
charrns of youth and 1S a work of love! .Sweet harmony But although each year youbeginagainthernostinteresting \
reigns over aIl our impressins onsuch adelightful day; and -and instructing courseofstudy that exists,howfewmenpay \
its charm ntenses the colours and OuTsenses are drunk attention to your lessons and know how to benefit from \
with 'their freshness, their delicate nuances, their smooth, them! . .--'
richtones, What 1Storun our eyesover al these Itfollowsfromtheseremarks occasioned by'theseasons
things and how agreeable they are; their adolescent forms of theyear that to create somethingbeautiful wemust, asin
have aje ne sais quoithat emphasizes thesmooth flowng nature, ensute..lhat the general impression given is gentle;
curves that barely indicate their presence and .adds rrew colours must be soft and rnuted, their shades delicate;
charms, The beauty of their elegant proputtillns lends them shapes must befowingwthlight, elegant proportions, .
grace and unites in them all things thathave-the giff of '~~-'. The .art of makng things agreeable stems from Good
pleasing us! . ~'. Taste..
But summer comes and forces a charrge of mood. The Good_!aste_ig..a :delicate., aesthetic .'discernment with~
glorious Hght makes us drunk with joy alJ d our sense or f~J -.Qj~9~~t!t..a.t-ar@~~ 9Y .tpleaS-ure.'ltishQt~riQugh/-
worrder has no lirnits. 'fhis pleasure is truly divine! What to simplY_Rllt!:i~TnLu.s_Q_bjec.ts._that=give IJ
pure happiness wefeel in thebottom of oUrMarts at this ~@~.LatnPng.J :hen:Lt@t OULllt~sJ J J ejs_rll~d
spectacle! What ecstasy! No, we..caMot possibly give and wefeel deligbtJ n_the-depthS-:N-()ur_being,,
expression to it! . <Let us concentrate on arcrutecture and weshall seethat
'.- - At trusseason nature's wock isdone; everything1Stheim- here Good Taste consists of providing more delicacy than
ageof perfection; everytrunghas acquired adearly defined opulence, more subtlety than sltength, more elegancethan
formthat isfull-blown, accurate andpureoOutlines areclear ostentation. Thus itis.gracethat isindi,cativeof Good Taste.
and distinct; their maturity gives them noble, majestic We haye observed that during the summer season the
proportions; fueir btight, vivid colours have acquired al! wholeof nature is bathed inJ ightwhich produces themost
their brilliance. Theearth isdeckedout withallitsriches and magnificent effects; ihat this life-givinglight was diffused
lavishes16themonour gaze. Thedepth ofhe light enhances over an extraotdinary multitude of objects all withthemost
~ourimpressions; itseffectsareboth vividanddazzling. AHis beautifulforms, all sruningwiththe brillianceofthe brightest
/' radiant! TheGod ofday seems to inhabit theearth. Nature colours,;;tUoftheli1 developed.tothe full; and that theresult
is adorned withamultitude of beatiflll trungsandoffers us of this beautiful assembly Was a vista of magnificent
.._. a splendid vista of magnificence, splendour.
But autumn has alread).'taken the place;-ofcsummerand r - As innature,the .ar.t._oLgiring_an impression ofgrandeut
rai~esour spirits withnewpleasures; ~tisati.meoffulfilmen.t; "'" 1 in archite.c.ture.)!~iJ .Uh!Ldis'pQ.!llm}_~Cl_L!!!e YQlume~
spnng had already awakened our deslrefor lt. Theearth, still / LOL~~tl1e_~~.?l~..1.n such_~_~~~~e.!Ut_gtrun_deal-ot:-
adorned with Flora's dazzling gifts, is now covered with j plaLTI!ggEe~ __ that their masses havea_UQbl~1J lajes!!_c
Pomon~:s treasures. Hmvvaried are theimages! How gay \ movement ana~y ~eJ uUesLRilli~ipled,ey.elp-
and srruling!Bacchus andthegentleGoddess of Folly have .~. The arrangementSliould be such that wecan absorb
takell over the erth..'fhe God of li1irth,the spirit. of our Lat a glancefuemultplicityofthe separate elementsth~t con-
pleasures, makes our hearts drunk withjoy! Itis as if the stitute the whole. The play of light on this arrangement of
Goddess wanted to giyepleasute 10theOod by disguising volmes shouldproduce themost widespread, striking and
the earfu. Colours are mixed, variegated, mottled..Forms varied effectsthat are all multiplied to the maximum. In a
are...picturesque and have the, appealing .attraction 'df largeensemble, thesecondary components must beskilfully
novelty; variety had-acldedtotheir spiceandtheplay oflight combined .to give the greatest possible opulence to the
andshadowproduces countless surpriseeffectswhichareall whole; and it istheauspicious distribution of this opulence
deJ ightful.17 that produces splendour and magnificence.
Hut fin~days are superseded by the dark winter seasOn. It is just such expanded irnages that 1haye tded to
humaJ :lmind; andno onecanflatter himselfthat heisableto
\ go.beyond them. Man giveshomage to theinfinite8eing in
\'-"vain; for such homage is, inevitably, in proportion to the
weakness uf those who olfer it; with such asubject aUman
can doisto fulfil hisreligiousduty asbest hecan-and that
aloneis atremendous task.
1do not know whether {hearchitects of our modern
temples hadthese thoughts inmind. Fromtheirde:;igns,it is
cl~ar.thatthey havetried to incorporare nobility, splendour
and opulence. We should doubtless begrateful to th~mfor
the ord~r and proportions of their .architecture. But does
t}leirart go so far as to induce a senseof ven~ration at the
mer~sight of their Temples? Are we afraid of desecrating
them by recklessly setting foot there? Do they inspire.the
rprofound respect that results fromreligious belief? Do they
f havethat quality of grandeur belongingtogeniusthat surges
/ forth and imposes itself on the onlooker, fillinghim with
~ect. Onceheha~sped such aspects, then
he will pernaps succeed ingivingthe a ro riate character
.~ and further study ands. eculatlQnwill enable
mmto grasp the fundamentaIs of the problem he has set
An edificefor theworsmp of thl'\Supreme Being! That i8
indeed a subject that caUs[01' sublime ideas and to which
'.a:rcmJ ectire-must giv~charact~r. ~t t~e~c~tQ_
~j:..s...s_a"!y,:",t.p st~b.,_t.p
~l-ofthe ideasitisdesti.nedJ oput mtoelfectand
~them tnsuch ~aL~~
soto speak, 2nessoleinspiration andguide. But what Artist
having triedto rIseto thecontemplatio;Qffue Creator, wiII
dare to design aTemple for mm!
!flere the limitations of art correspond to those of the
produce in several of my projects, notably thePalaee at Sto i 11!Y~ monuments, an. are . ctural" skeleton
. Germain-en-Laye, theMetropolis and ~~tAQQ_. thro~bare-waUt!-an~
~e.J .ri!:_d~aiLm self of all the means put at m .dis- 'animpression of buried arcmte<itI,IXl'\ J :>.x.1!sing...onLy;J Q2Y,
I?J !.s.aLby._nat-ure-arul-t~e theim- "SaggingPropomotfJ i@~:-d:j-ibe....ear~~ and, finaHy, by
ageof grandeur.T would suggest that thereader consu!t rny using liglit::-aI5SOr6!ng mat~rials,J o'1':rrilf~)lb!cl!, illlageof
plans fnplace f all possible explanatons, for 1am per- an: architecture of sl{aQJ l5YLo"litfilled_.-byeve:di~er
suadedthat what should berequired ofan Artist aboyeaHis shidows.- - . o ~-~ --,
not that he explainwell but that he.execute well, r~~--stype of architecture based on shadows s my own 1.';-'\0
We have observed that the smiling mages of autumn . artistic discovery. It is anewroadthatlhave opened and, if .
were produced by great varety, by the play of light and 1am not mistaken, Artists will not refrain from followng )
shadow, by picturesque forms and their lack of similitude, -.; it.20 <:
bythe uniqueand bizarre nature of'their variegated, mottled I wilI add one last observation to those 1have already
colours. . made-s-one that seems to meof great importance. Itisthat
Itfollows from these remarks that if we are to produce ~eyiates ini~erything
gay, smilngimages, itisnecessary to.befamiliar withtheart '----~s--the--g.QaI~on.15OeS
of diversification; for this onemust depend onflashes of in- Nature offerusagreeableimages, nobleimages, pleasant im-
<sp;iratio~forothey .ma~~obje~ts new, di~e:~nt .and more ag~~, s~~images? ~s.-?ijft:',~U1aturtUeta!ns
stimulating, and dlv~rslfy design. J hey 'ut}iz~I:>.lct:gr~~ID!~~a!. characte~~f~gJ 1gsmsUQP' away that nOtnlI1_~
"..~ormj_QJ ! __ 1~L~~Ei~J lll.d_j!ldivi9~aliz~h~ T~ ~CQ1ltLadfCtin, .~e~ois,--iOL::-&Efi-1s; __rior
'iiil1t lay on shadow to prQduces11u tm e cts..that-hy ~ and al! thmgs m.yJ L ..respects -ha:ve'a perfect
~xing_~ce .. mo.ttled.~.;_!~. ug..hJ o._._ .. r.! ..u., ?at~, ~p,-peFfectanal.Qgy' __ !!~~.har~9pY.
~~.. g. i!~~al-?r~~t~tJ :~~-:.~~~.~~e[_iIg.g~t.a . -fiL.{i.l. fi~. ~. ~~;.~J ~, for me, a crtical moment: 1amgoingto put my
tombinatioi1'ano "iiaexpected progressions they create un- casebeforetheReader by describing myownwork. Hecan-
expected vistas that proffer the stimulating attraction of not accuse meof trying to force it onhimtomake my case
novelty, seemfavourable, for 1shall strongly critcize sornefamous
This type of arohitecture would be suitable for rnonuments and insodoing 1shallprovide weapons against
Vauxhalls," fairs andhealth spas whichalmost always have myself which he can easily use to destroy- lDYown work
picturesque.locations, for aTheatre withpleasant surround- utterly. 1.amaware of it but 1amwriting to further the ad-
ings, 01' agreeable public promenades, such as Boulevards, vancement of the arts and 1cannot make an effectivecon-
etc., etc. ." '. tribution if 1do not tenthetruth, evenagainst myself. What
Wehaveobserved that duringtbe:wnter season, thelight author isnot aware of hisweakness? Who doesnot desireto
issad and gloomy, that everythinghas lost itsbrillianceand gobeyond mscapabilities? AHablem~naretormented by a
its colour, that ou!_li!le.s_a.r(:.!w'.g,\ngula~~~ sense of their own inadequacy. They cannot hide jt from
denudedeart-ha:s-the-apperu:.nce...Q(!Lan~eJ 1!!>raclU_gjomb ..,' themselves. The mOreknowledge.they have, the more dis-
Itfol!owsfromthese observations that to produce asad, satisfied they are with their own work and the more'often ....
sombre impression, Itisnecessry to try to pr~sent, as! did 'they findthey are at war withthems~lves.21
symmetry, that iswhat results fromtheorder that extendsin
every drection and multiples them at our glance untl we
can no longer count them. By extending the sweep of an
avenue sothat its endis out of sight, thelaws of optics and
theeffectsof'perspectve gve animpression of'immensty; at
eachstep, the objects appear inanewguiseand our pieasure
is renewed by a succession of dfferent vistas. Finally, by
sornemiracle whch in fact is the result of our own move-
ment but which weattribute to theobjects aroiind us, the
latter seemto move withus, as if wehad imparted Lifeto
Allow us to make sorne further observations on Sto
Peter's. Suppose, for example, that in the nave and side-
aisles of this Temple, the straight, unweildy bases, which
destroy the overall effect of the Temple wththeir sizeand
thickness, werereplaced by pleasing, delicate volumes and
immense rows of peripheral columns in the Greek style;
-each one is separated fromthe next in such away that our
eyecan wander over thewholeexpanseandabsorb thismul-
.titude of forms, inthe opulence of whichthe onlooker can
lose himself, for their attractiveness aways leads him to
believethat they are even more numerous. Who can doubt
butthat thistemple, thedimensions of whicharereduced by
theorder ofgigantic arcades that extendeverywhere, would
then appear infinitely larger, for themethods whichwehave
just described (as weknow) far fromreducing itssize,great-
ly helpto make itappear much larger.
Inthe light of these remarks, which are based only on
known facts, 1consider that I amentitIed to suggest that
there is aserious defect in awork of architecture whenthe
overall effect reduces .its sze,
And all St. Peter's apologists were wtong when they
cIaimed to have proved that this defect was a source of
Animpression of sizehas suchpower over our sensesthat
evenaS~l!min~atit isrepulsve, it still arouses our admira-
tion.(~ Y ..2!f~_ g)breathing fire and death has a repulsive
~ It istherefore truethat izcJ!lli'
and.J .!lill.",.in....differenLGG~Ptatigtls, i.~.whether wefind
QQliCts_ pt~;~~tb,~L?:~,nl_ !~ _ _ !!igl.I.~ul.siY e,J h~J ~ct
'that...they.!.l!I?-Qe,rJ .a[g~~ect whatsoever, lS m-
d.J stj.Y e-OLsup.eIi9~ities. ~----
A poetic impression of grandeur has sometimes ledusto
confuse grandeur and immensity. If man is depicted a:tsea
with only sky and water ar6und him, this spectacIe is for
ma..n.on.eOf. t.rueimm..e.ns~ty... In~s.cha.situati.on,every.
heyond our understandmg. We have no means of makmg
comparisons. Itis the same o a Balloon floating in the
heavens, having lost sight of everything on earth and seeing
nothing of nature but thesky.25/WanderingthUsinimmensi-
ty, in this abysmal expanse,;Man is overwhelmed by the
extraordinary spectacle of in60nceivable space.
Let uSnowbroach thepleasure Wegainon earth fromthe
great vistas of nature. It is thesethat wll allowusto make
comparisons and calculations and whichwill giveusaclear
ideaof what weshould understand by grandeur inorder to
apply it spedfically to art.
Whoofus has not onamountain top enjoyedthepleasure
of discoveting all that theeyecan take in? What do wesee
there? A vast expansecontaining alargenumber of different
objects, too numerous to becounted. Now, inarchitecture,
ARCHITECTURE, ESSA yON ART and wonder? Is the general impression that
they surpass human capactes and are, SOto speak, in-
conceivable? And, fnally, have all the resources thatnature
has to offer art been tapped to endow the subject wth the
majesty it calls for? Such were my first thoughts on
Temples. .
Greek architecture is recognized asbeingso superior that
to-day its precedents are laws, Let me tell you that the
Greeks decorated their templeswithmagnificent colonnades
and it must beadrnittedthat architecture possesses no other
more majestic or moreagreeable technique, Itwastherefore
to be expected that there would be imitations of such
beautiful examples handed down to us by our famous
architects, Why then have our modero Architects in their
Temples substituted for thenobleopulenceof architecture a
form of decoration that consists of cumbersome arcades,
with straight, massive bases decorated with nothing more
than a coat of plaster a few centimetres thick that we
architects call apilaster!
This unweildy, ignoble order s crowned with vaulting
pierced by lunettes resembling cellar skylights, The sharp,
unpleasant angles of the lumettes make the vault appear
horrificlly heavy.
The unsuitable'ornamentaton only exacerbates the
defectswehavejustdescribed bydrawing attention tothem.
Anddo not imaginethat these observations apply Qnlyto
afewmonumentsthat arenot worth mentioning. Consider
thevast Basilicof StoPeter inRome, StoPaul's inLondon,
andthe church of theInvalides inPars or theoneat Val-de-
Grce, theSorbonne, etc., etc., and you will seethat all are
decorated inthe manner described.
Sincemanis always impressed by sze, itis certain that a
Templebuilt inhonour of'the Divinity should always beim-
mense. Such a temple must be the most striking and the
largest image of all that exists; it should, ifthat werepossi-
._ _ _ _ :ble, appear to be the universe, To be reduced to what is
caUednecessity whn designing atempleis to forget one's
Why then does St. Petet'S inRome appea:rmuch smallet
than it s? This intolerable defect i8 dUetothe fact that the
Architect ha:snot givenanimpression of space by themere
presence of the numerous objects a large space should
naturally contain but instead has reduced the overall effect
by making each object of colossal proportionsj andthus, in"
stead of building big, as artists say, what he has buiR is
When I observed that aTemple should appear large, 1
was not referring only to its size. 1meant to includetheuse
of that ingenious technique which makes itpossible to ex"
tend and enlarge the impression we have; this is done by
juxtaposing objects insuch away that thelt overall effect1s
full)' developed aswelookat them, andbyarranging themin
such a way that we appreciate their multiplicit)', the
successive aspects in which they are revealed to us are
removed continuously until wecan no longer count them.
Such an effect is produced, for example, by the regular,
symmetrical arrangement of a quincunx. If we stand out-
side, near oneof the..angles,theoverall effectisdevelopedto
amaximum, for wecanobservetwoof itssurfaces at once.23
Thus the objects arearranged insuchaway that alI con-
tribute to our enjoyment. Their multiplicity givesthe effect
of Opulence. Thegreatest magnificenceandthemostperfect
Peter's basilica. Hewantedtoimprove onthemost beautiful
rnonuments in Rome, notably the Rotunda which he had
always heard praised. He proposed building one as Iarge
and added that hewould support this immensemass onthe
vaulting ofthe templehehad desgrredrtrr such away that it
merely reposed on it like a crown. The idea was so gran-
diose, ;;Obold, serastonishing that if it had not already been
executed, its feasibilty would surely bequestioned if it were
proposed to-day."
It must be admitted that the idea for this Dome is not
generalIy attributed to Michelangelo, What is certain isthat
Bramante, agiftedarchitect, had donesorneof'theplans for
theconstructon ofSt. Peter's beforeMichelangelo. Thereis
a Dome in the plan that weknow was done by Bramante.
Bramante's project appears preferable to Michelangelo's in
many respects and it was followedin part by thelatter.
Although theGoths built at atimewhenthearts werenot
very advanced and although they do not seemto havebeen
familiar with any good architecture, they nevertheless
managed to confer ontheir temples acharacter of grandeur.
We are amazed by their extraordinary height which seems
to surgeup into the clouds. They ntroduced magic into art
by concealing the supporting structure of their temples in
such a way that they appeared to be supported by some
supernatural power. TheGoths succeededinmany respects
because they followed the bent of their genius for man is
always. something when heuses the resources given him-by
nature whereas apeman becomes depravedand isabsolute-
lynothng." .
Itis evident fromthese observations Onmodern temples
that they arestill far fromtheperfection towhichthey could
be.brought andthat iswhy1felt1shouldenter thefray. I was
well aware (as 1 have already remarked) that the
elucidations I wasofferingmy criticswouldnot betomy ad-
vantage, but 1was concerned with the advancement of the
arts; and 1shall havemy consolation inadvance for having
provded weapons against myself if my remarks, which are
prejudicial tomy own work, areof sorneuse.
When I plunged into my subject, 1 was immediately
halted by difficulties which 1thought insuperable. At the
beginning 1asked myself hQWI was goingto beableto give
my templetherequired character? Didarchtecture havethe
technical possibilities necessary to inspire aHthe religious
feeling approprite to the worship of the Supreme Being. 1
must confess that these questions overwhelmed meandthe
moreIthought about them, themorediscouraged 1became.
Itwasa thispoint that mylovefor my profession causedme
incalculable anguish.
1say.,it openly. 1do not know of arty llJ odern temple
wherethereisany evidertcethat tbearchitect appliedhimself
to, or ["even" erased] thought about introducIng character.
In spiteof all their elforts, modem Architects giveustheim-
pression of beirtgmen wh~~e."b~t
\ , Y . ! ! hm.:siiply ~(j::tj:eJ aeas:f)ftheJ r predecessors and
\ Shlvishly.sgpied;:Uem._ _. --.._--,~----- '
L~-rpndered for a long time without any success. But 1
grew accustomed to bracing myself against obstac1es and
continued my ponderings without becoming c:iiscouraged.
And finallytherewas aray ofhope whert1recalledthesom-
bre 0!:-J ll~steriouselfectsthat I had ob~er.vedinthe forest
arur--the varous mpressons th~Y _:fj.iLm:,l!d_!":-~on me. 1_
perceiv.9.J hat-if_any_measexistec:i. of putting theideas thaL
", - _.- . -'- . .' . - ., :", _. .-_.-,----_.,--- _-_,-
do wewant to givean impression of grandeur? In a large
project, we must use the ingenious techniques we have
described to multiply objects to thegreatest possibleextent,
but in the exact proportion to the whole that we find in
Greek temples, so that the objects areneither multipliedto
excess as in our Gothic churches, nor do they have such
colossal proportions that they aregigantic, J ikeS1.Peter's in
Rome." .
Themost famous Architects haverealized that nothingin
architecture ismore magnficent.than colonnades. Why isit
then that modern Architects have not used them in our
temples where all theresources of art should belavished? 1
believethat I have understood thereason.
Ancient Temples, in the strict sense of the word, were
merelysanctuaries wherethepriests carried outthe dutiesof
thier ministry without any communication withthe people;
this didnot require alargespacenor, inconsequence, anin-
genious arrangement, But our modern Baslicas aredestined
to hold a congregation as well as the priests, The most
solemnceremonies arefrequently heldthereinthepresence
of a very large congregation and these Baslicas therefore
had to bespacious and inproporton to thenumber of peo-
pIein attendance." Our architects had to solvea thousand
diffculties. They had to finda means of supporting theim-
mense vaulting of the main naves, the side-aisles and the
chapels; and it is doubtless for this reason that they didnol
dare to'decorate their temples withcolonnades whichwould
not provide sufficient support for the Enromous weight of
the vaulting. They had to find a means of reconciling this
delcate, elegant decoration with the necessary resistance.
Time and study procure all. .
Greek temples were decoratedbotlt utside and in with
colonnades which surrounded the whole building. A
magnifcent.Porch, withadoublerowof columns formedthe
entrance; theTemple stood alone, risingmajestically inthe '
middleof its vast precincts,
Our temples are far fromhaving such anoble and con-
sequently suchanappropriate aspectoTheentrarrceisrarely
adorned with a porch and even the most opulent have at
most onerow of columns. As for their portals, they almost
all consist of two or three orders of architecture, oneontop
of another, as if the Temple were built on severa! floors.
When discussing the St. Gervais portal, Voltaire was not
afraid topraise it.z8
far frombeingsurrounded by colonnades, our churches
areencIosedby wallswithbuttresses ihat resemblefortifica~
tion walls. Our temples do not stand apart and nor do they
have precin<;ts;and not only do Wenot prevent their being
profaned by the proximity of private homes, wea.low the
peopletobuild against themhovelsthat bouse themost vile
ThePorch of theRotunda inRomeisconsidered tobean
architectural masterpiece. We admire the noble order and
proportions ofits architecture. It is cited by aUour famous
.writers. Is"itnot extraordinary that amodel that has beenthe
sJ lbjec;tof so much admiration has not yet been imitated in
our capital?
1havenowmade aUthecriticisms 1considered necessary
and will now pay homage to modero architecture. 1 am
going to discuss Domes.
Mjchelangelo, a gifted Painter, Sculptor and Architect
astonished everyone when hewas making theplans for St.
archtecture has to offer. The columns in the foreground
facilitate the mysterious diffusion of daylight, for they jut
out and prevent our seeinghowthelight enters thetemple."
The latter arrangement has many advantages. In the first
place, the number of casements can be increased to the
desired extent without worrying about their formsincethey
cannot beseen,
Inaddition, it facilitates both the construction and .
decoration: theconstruction inthat thevaultingissupported
by fueengaged piers inthebackground andthus itls possi-
bletomultiplyor reinforcethemasnecessary andat will;the
decoraton inthat the casements situated inthe attic below
the vaulting no longer require those lunettes .resemblng
cellar skylights that have a very ugly effect; in that the
vaulting canbedecorated inany way, either withpainting or
sculpturein that the vaulting extends beyond the colon-
nades and into the background and its ["Iarge" erasedl
diameter necessarily enlarges the whole and crowns fue
colonnade in most rnajestic fashion; inthat the columns are
ot overloaded bythemassivevaultingaboye thernandthus
preserve their dignity and characteristic grace; fnally, in
that fuearchitecture wouldhavethemost stmulating effect
on the onlooker at every step--the stimulatng effect that
stems from the fact that our glance cannot wander over
isolated objects arranged symmetrically in every direction
without our forming the impressn that the objects move
with us and without tappearing that wehaveimparted life
Through an extenson of this arrangement, the resting
points of my Dome areplaced in away that enabled meto
enhance my Cupola-with a double colonnade outside and
another one inside. 1have benefited from this advantage
both to add immensity to the tower of the Dome and to
isolate the temple which adorns the inside of the Cupola,
The painting on the vaulting extends right down onto the
rear wall fromwhichthecolumnsjut out, withtheresult that
the expanse of the Heavens and of glory that adorns the
valting andcupola becomeimmense, thus, inaddition, they
contribute to makethearcmtecture oftms domeaslightand
airy asit couldpossibly be. TheDomeisplacedinthecentre
of the monurhent and is designed to impress immediately
anyorte who enters thetemple and to hold his gaze\Vithits
brilliant effect, its opulence artdits size. This temple would
berid ofthose massivepiUarsthat inOurmodern Churches,
obstruct and deplete the main section; the columns in its
aisles\Vouldjoinupwiththoseofthe Dome, thus conferring
on it aH the riches of atchitecture; immense rows of
columns inthe arrangement of thequincunx wouldbemul~.
tiplied to such a degreethat the eyewould loseitself inthe
opulence; and the bptical effects and tbose of perspective
woUld prolong the columns, thus giving us, as we have
already observed, aglimpseofimmensity.
Tms encIosure, which as 1have stated aboye is destined
for the Ministers OI Religion is crowned by an open~sided
templewith an aerial effect. This templewould appear tobe
thesanctuary ofthe DivineBeing, whosepresence \Vouldbe
indicated by its glorious magnificence. Triple rows of
casements, Set in such a way..I!:snot to be visible, would
diffuse in the cupola the. brigp.fest possible light.. Hidden
fromthe eyesofthe onlooker,;\}'thaquality ofmystery, the
effects produced by the light tliainedonly Onthe vauIting
would beboth brilliant and shades
preoccupied me into effect'}!_I'l1ust IieillJ be wayIight was
filtered intqJ !1e Temple ..T~g w:a~ll()\Yl(
------rrls'TijIt tn8.cpl'Oduces impressions which arouse in us
varous contradictory sensations depending on whether they
are brilliant or sombre. If 1could manage to diffuse in my
temple_magnificenUigl1t~fi'~~ts !_~I_leo_l}~~
.jQy~b_uJ _ih on. the.,.CQQ1:rary~-Cfuy tel~pL~d only sombre
effects,J _would fill hiIn\V1tI: sadless. IfI co\i~
l!i!i.f1Q~~!:~J i~out the onlooker being
aware ofifs-sou~ce, the ~nsuing~~~ daylight
wJ ~tprodllCeJ nG0I1celyable itnpressions a~d, in~_
tfuly ench!j.rlting magic quality. Once 1 cold crltf01the
.amnt flight at will, 1would be abletoreduceit toinspire
in our souls composure, compunction, and even religious
dread, particularly if for mournful ceremonies tending to
arouse such sentments, 1was careful to decorate thechurch
in a similar vein, If, onthe contrary, for joyful cerernones,
the light effects were brilliant and the temple strewn with
flowers-which areall that is most pleasant innature-the
result would beamajestc, rnovngspectacle that wouldfin
out hearts withdelight.
These reexions restored my courage. Now, 1thought
only of'how to avail myselfof all that nature had tooffer, 1
then said to myself-and I amproudto confess it~"Your
profession will make you master ofthese resources; andyou
too will beableto say 'fiat lux'; at your wishthetemplewill
be flledwith light, or it wilI be no morethan the dwelling
place of shadows." And soon I no lnger thought of
anything but architecture.
I believed that the only way of ensuring that thetemple
had animposing appearance wouldbethrough agrand and
nobleorder of architectur, I made every effort to achieve
this inthe exterior decoration, 1havelearned by experience
that man generally measures himself against the space
around mm'and, inaddition, 1wantedto suggestthemajesty
ftheplaceby anextremely imposing Entrarrce. I therefore
thought that I could not do better than to concntrate on
designing an entrartce to theTemplethat wouldcompletely
overwhelmtheonlooker. And sO1dared to raisetheheight
ofthe entrance uptothetopofthe vaulting andtomakeit as
wideas thenave.
Sometimepreviously 1had hadthe ideaof combiningthe
beauties of Greek architecture with-I cannot saythebeau-
ty of GotmC arcmtecture-but withthe techniques known
and used oruy by the Goths. The latter, as 1have already
remarked, knew how to conceal cleverly the supporting
structure of their temples with delicateworkmanship, with
the result that their buildings seemed to stand by some
mitac1e. I tried to decideon theinterior arrangement of my
temple in accordance withthesetenets. Once 1haddevised
the supporting structure and had reinfol"cedit with the
number of engaged piers necessary to carry theDome and
support the vaulting of the nave, the side-aisles and the
chapels, 1then surrounded aHthese massive volumes with
rows of columns inevery direction; and I thus managed to
draw the eye of the onlooker away from these massive
volumes by means of ali that ls most agreeable in
Theresult ofthis Gothic arrangement i8that thesupport-
ing structure ls screened and the temple too will Seemto
stand by sornemiracle; and, inaddition, it\ViIIbedecorated,
in imitation of the Greeks, with all the opulence that
induces pleasure; that it has its abode and refuge here 'is
evident frorn-the temple's aspecto
Itwasduringthesemoments of reflexionandinsightthat 1
concbivedthe.projectfor my Theatre, When1madeitpublic
i1was rather successful; I had reason to suppose that 1
wouldbe'ableto executeitinthecentre ofthe Garden of the
RevoJ ution (formerly.the PalaiscRoyal) wherethelargelake
;vaspreviously located.33Thisideaimpressed meand1tried
to desigri _myThe,atreso that it would take advantage of all
its attractiorrS.
'Surroundingwa:lls contribute morethan aHttleto enhan-
cingmonuments thus theAncients werecareful toset thero
apart to gvethemdignity, andlo surround themin order to
multiply the sourees of charaeter.
.Itis easy to imagine the overall etfect of an auditorium
placed inapleasant garden surrounded by aPalace andim-
posing buildings adorned with rows of columns and Ar-
cades. The Public would arrive fromall sides drawn either
by the lure of the performance oroby that of a walk, or
perhaps by the desire to enjQY the sight of this large
gathering which, withitsfestiveaspect, wouldembeUishthe
locatlon artdmakeit seemmost agreeable. Ther'eisnothing
more attractive than theimage this aUditoriumwould have
. j.
lumnate the Painting. With no other intention? This is so
true that if hehad any special aims similar to theoneI am
suggesting, he would certanly have camouflaged the main
apertures which are located in his cupola. These apertures
are so detrimental to the decoration-of ..that par of the
Dome, and areinsuch contradiction to it, that it isimpossi-
bletolook at thepaintng hereor anywhere elsewithout fin-
ding a solid mass blocking one's view. Isn't there direct
lighting in the chapels and the main temple? Doesn't the
light enter here in the same way as in all our modern
Churehes, where the light, beeause ir is not devisedfor the
objects, is detrimental to theminstead ofsetting themoffto
advantage? Isn't is cause for lamentation that in the In-
valides and elsewhere, the rnain figures which decorate the
ehapels areplaced aboye the altars and litfrom behind?
Thesefacts provethatshe aimsof'thisArchitecr'Fhave no
connexion withthephilosophical aims that guidedmewhen
1was searching for a means of arousing in men's souls
feelingsinkeeping'withteligious ceremonies. This wasnot,
however, the only reason that I considered, Of this, too, 1
mus givean explanation,
When light enters a. templedirectly, art is pitted against
nature, especially if. thsre Is also Painting, The light. IS
refiectedinthose places.where it fallsdirectly and hurts the
eyes; or lsetheobjeotsareabsorbed inthecontrasting light,
My system .sin total opposition to usual practice, 1am
extremely careful to avoid any conict between art..ami.
-....nature. I borrow the valuble effects'of thelatter, I adapt
themtoart, and itis'thesegiftsof nature that enable meto
rase art to thesublime. ~
A theatre is a monument to pleasure; what delicacy and
what good taste must preside over its construction!
The public attending our entertainments can, it seems to
me, be compared with the Gnidian festivals so agreeably,
described byMontesquieu. 1seethemembers of themoreat-
tractive sexenter our placesof entertainment, givingtheim-
pression that they are gathered there Qnlyto viewith each'
other's charms, to delight our hearts, to demonstrate their
power and also to receive the respects of the presiding
Genius which, inspired by loveand the Graces, oftentakes'
pleasureincelebrating theattractions qfthis enchanting sexo
How true it ls that a place of entertainment should be
thought of asatempleto Gqod Taste. In this beautiful tem-
ple I can see Genius and Good Taste..combine to erect a
magnificent amphitheatre where brilHant rivals make their
appearance; lseeJ he latter raised ona superb throne from
which they enjoy theeffect of their charms and fromwhich
they spread that delightful confusion aroused by an abun-
dance.of pleasure andforceman to exclaim, "My soul isnot
equal tot."
I can also seethedecoration intheinterior Qfthetemple
offeringin its most pleasant guise al! that is attractive and
pleasing; everywherethereisafestivespirit that heralds and
of the painting would be seen to advantage .andthe eye
would have difflculty in supporting the brilliance of'these
magical effects, T]1l}-Celest~WA~ its sublime
cl!ID:a~lu:alQ!!rces and woulctthus-bear-
witness_tothefactthat if therei88.arrwb1c a esusto
V alI ourSe1v~ture, ilien1tlS unquestionably themost
wQtlhyotllthe _Nts.-:. ... . /~
---In ~efiexions 1havemade ontheimpotence of
menwho dare toerect temples to the Divinity, you will not
imaginethat 1am satisfiedwith my work. No, that 1am cer-
tainly notoMy pretensions (if, that is, an artist can permit
himself to have any in such circumstances) would be con"
finedto allowingmeto assume that the arrangement of my
temple comprises some technques which had not been ob-
vious up to now, and which will enable my successors to
benet from the advantage 1 am giving thern, as 1have
benefited fromthose givento meby our forebears, What 1
fnd satisfyingTanadditional "satisfying" erased] at present
is that 1believethat I was thefirst to devisethis way of in"
troducing lightinto atemple andthat my viewsonthis sub"
ject seemto meboth new and philosophical.
Uneducated arguers or those given to dishonesty will
perhaps exclaim, "What is this innovation that the author
clamshesofferingus? Isit n01afactthat part of'theDome
ofthe Invalides islit, ashewants tolight.histemple, andthat
thesource ofthe light intheupper vaulting isinvisible?" A
frivolous objection, What a.dfference there isbetween the
aimsofthat architecture andthosethatl amprofessing! Isit
not obvious that the sole intention of' that architect was
simply to introduce daylight into that large vaulting to il-
doors opening onto theperistylewould bearranged in such
a way that at the slightest alarm, a simple pull on a cord
would sufficeto open themall at the sametime so that the
whole auditorium would benothing but open doors. 1nave
already successfully tried this mechanism at the Ecole
Militaire;" 'it consists of a dented pinion to actvate the
serrated rackswhich inturn raisethe catches of theIocks,
It is certain that the mass of exits and their proximity to
thefacade of myTheatre wouldbereassuring innroments of
danger, but that wouldnot forestall thedanger; and 1hadto
try and avoid even the possibility of such an appalling
Fireisdangerous only whenitisfed. To avoidfeedingit 1
make no use at all of wood but build with stone andbricks
right uptothebalconies, Thus theonlyinflammable parts of
the building would be the oor of the Theatre and the
scenery. If a disaster did oCCUr,these would burn, but
without a~y unfortunate consequences." But to parry al!
objections and to reassure the public and the Government
that 1had taken every precaution, 1placed under thewhole
lengthof theTheatre alargereservoir of water intowhichal!
the wood would fall and be extinguished as the fire con"
sumed the structure.
Moreover, twould be possible to arrange for the floor
structure ofwhich 1havespoken aboyetofal!al!atonce ina
single piece. Do we not have the proof that much more
extensivedemolition canbecarried out intheremoval of'the
centrepiece ofthe Neuilly bridge?38
1have already stated that 1would not use wood in my
construction: in fact, since the auditorium of the Theatre
would be vaulted, thehigh: runners on top of the Theatre
would beof sheet metal, resting on iron rods supported by
large, strong hooks; al! the service ropes would be of
brass wire and enough crampirohs to bear their ",eight
would be distributed over the whole curve of the Vaulting
and arranged soas to facilitate a1lthechanges and meet al1
operational needs. Theseprecautions wouldmeanthat even
if the wholeTheatre burned, neither spectators nor themaln
structure of thebuildingwould beinany danger; andin ad-
ditiontherewould,bepo needto feanhat theVaulting ofthe
Theatre. would bedamaged. 1amsosureofthis that if r had
bult this Th'eatre, as1was givenreason tosUPf>Os~ 1would,
1had decidedto sacrificeat myown risk a,floor anqasetof
scenery' which 1would have set ,alight to to prove to the
PUblictheeffectivenessofmy methods.39
The problemofehsuring thegreatest possiblesafety was
thus solved and i1:remained for meto turn my attention to
thelayout and decoration of this ffiOnument.
Four latge outer VestibulesinrlicatethemalngroundfIoot
eritrances. TWb of these vestibules are meant for thelower
baleonies and, onthemaln entrahce. side, they areplaced in
front of the maindouble staircases that leadto them. Three
inside Vestibules lead to the staircases for the other three
rows ofbalconies. Byincreasing thenumber of these sipr-
caseS and vestibutes and by dividingthem so that rtone'of
them communicates with any other,I can forestal1thefur-
moil, panic and confusionof the audience which, until now
was inevitable at the exit after any performance.
A vast arcade al ground leve1sUrrounds the whole cir-
cumference of thebuilding. Itcommunlcates withevrypart
of the building and'thus relieves congestiono But its main
purpose would beto accommodate theservants waitingfor
offered in the middle of all that beauty.
Deterrnined torefuse all these advantages, 1rejectedthis
ste in favour ofthe Carrousel, which has a magnificent
location." There 1designed an aditorium standing freeon
all sides. Bordered bythequays andtheadjacent streets, this
vast sitepossesses all that one could desirefor easy access.
One of the Palaces=-the most impressive on account of its
size and opulence--already decorates this superb setting.
Onecan circulatefreely thereduringtheperformance, since
the Palace courtyards would more than sufficefor all the
carriages, Theisolaton ofthe auditorum would meanthat
there would beno danger to the neighbouring houses, The
most suitable sitefor this monument wouldnaturally bethis
largeareawhichdoesnot havethenconvenience of all other
sites, where the purchase price would exceed the construc-
tion expenses. The auditorium would also be in the
neighbourhood of the Theatre warehouse, and would thus
beconvenient for therunningof thetheatre. Nothing would
be simpler than to connect the auditorium with the
warehouse by means of a covered underground passage,
Thus the transport of scenery and costumes would cost
almost nothing and could be carried out with the utmost
speed; and, what is an even greater advantage, itculd be
done without fear of the runous damage which could in-
evitably result fromtransporting tbemin theopen.
Attracted by theadvantages of ibis placeandthoroughly
absorbed in my project, 1concentrated on graspng ll the
fundamentals of it,
1first pondered on thefatal events that have occurred in
almost all the largecitiesof Europe, .andwhichwerecaused
solely by themanner inwhich OUrauditora are built.
A glance at our Theatres is sufcent to convince usthat
they aregruesome funeral pilesandthat aspark issufficient
to setthem onfireand seethembutnt out inaninstant.35 The
proof existsinthe.:firesat thetwo Theatres onthesiteofthe
.(Qtmer Palais Royal.
Should the Public fear for its'J ifeina placedevoted toits
What dreadful confusion, whadire calamities whenpan-
ic takes hold of people because they apprehend sorne
catastrophe, as happened inthe old ltalian Theatre!
Suchthoughts made meshuddet and 1told myself that I
would not build aTheatre unIess1couldfindaway tomake
it fireproof.
1thought that 1should first arrange for the Public the
fastest possible escape, and 1think 1have succeeded.
At the sideofthe main entrance to my Theatre isa vast
perron climbing the whole height of the substrcture and
more than 200 feet inwidth. Ontheplatformof this perron,
i.e. on the peristyle of the auditotium, 1have placed forty"
two French windowsthat areseparated fromtheboxes only
by a corridor and the foyer, so that everyone on this floor
can leavealmost all abreast at the same time; to beoUtside
the building, safety, theyhaveonlytoctoss thecor-
ridor. Nine large doors which open onto the thtee
groundfloor vestibules givethesame advantage to those sit-
tinginthepit andthe small boxesbehind it. Theexitsdo not
communicate with".lhg~e on the' first floor. The upper
balconies woul, iaddition, haveto descend their respec-
tiVestaircases downtothe firstlevel and fromtheregolo the
main perron. This would be the shortest possibledsmce
for hem to' cover. Itis essential to note that theforty-two
varous authors have heaped upon it; and it is about time
that weconcerned ourselves withthemethods most likelylo
preserve thetheatrical iIlusion.
Itis doubtless equally'_diffifu!tto conceal both the im-
perfect state of this aspect of our Theatres and the sublime
perfection they could attain. There have been smiles and
laughter on more than one occasion at the sight of those
mobilelinesof washng" that separate thetransverse ribs of
thevaulting fromtheir supports;or that movethesky asif'it
were an image. No method has yet been discovered for
making skies and ceilings; 1will not describehereideas that
still requireexceptionally careful study tobefullyperfected,
My desireistoseecompetent artists apply themselvestothis
aspect and make ittheobject of their speculations.
There is another aspect that has received evenless atten-
tion; amass of observations about ithaveenabledmetodeal
withit.Itconcerns methods of'lightnganauditorium accor-
ding to the effect the work should have presented on the
audience. If thetitleof aplay has induoedgloomy thoughts,
nooneseatedinabrightly litauditorum, will not experience
sornedfficulty intearng himself away-from the sensations
induced by the brightness of the lighting when the curtain
rises and suddenly reveals a sombre scene, The effort heis
obligedtomaketoput himself'intheright mood destroys the
iIlusion; the destructive effect on the performance is
The same process occurs when weare seated in an iII-Ut
auditorium and are suddenly confronted with festive
brilliance. It is true that sometimes these sudden contrasts
arepreparatory totheauction and servetheends of thepoet
who may need instant surprise 01." asudden commotion. But
'that isevenrnorereason for trying to master thecreation or
prevention of such affectsat will; nd itisdifficulttoimagine
how many unlmown, powerful reSOUrcesihis method can
add to the illusion and physical impression made by the
entertainment. We sawat the beginning of'this section the
ideas behind the decorati.ori ,o( the auditorum. As far as
possible, 1ws aimingat the stjmulating effect of variety.
That iswh_yI surrounded my auditoriumwithbuildingswith
partieos creating a kind of fairground. 1placed a ballroom
and concert hall inthe niiddleof these buildings for 1con-
sideredthat 1must advertise thepleasures by cOQcentrating
them. 1fo.undthis : pleasing and picturesque way to sur-
round art auditorium and in addition it would be a
stimulating contrast totheeffectofthl'l Palace opposite.
My Theatre was to be a Rotunda surrounded by a cor-
iibian order. 1thought that by using themost pleasing of
shapes andthemost elegant order, 1wouldensurethat ithad
appropriate character.
The four principal Vestiqules form on the outside four
largepedestals destined tosupport theFamous whowereto
accompany the muses tothe temple of Goo.dTaste, These
pedestals mark theIimitsof theperron whichforms thebase
of the wholebilding. ltis easy to imagine theeffect.of this
perron on abeautiful day, fuUof elegantly dressed women,
embeHishedin particular by those charms ihat belong only
to French women.42
1have madetheinsideof my auditoriumIQ theshapeof a
semicircle~undoubtedly one of the m.ost beautiful
shapes~for in architecture it is n axion that beautiful
shapes are the necessa,ry basis of a beautiful decor.
Moreover, this isthe only shape suitable focaTheatre. Itis
the end of the performance, and to protect them from
exposure to the elements. Itis arranged in such away that
the servants could arrive everywhere rapidly and without
theleast confusin.
Thestaircases leadingtothefirst foor balconies arelarge
with free, simple, easy access. They lead to an extended
public foyer which could be agreeably decorated, and
located to ensure a most interesting glimpse of it to those
entering O c leavingthe performance.
1havesurrounded my audtoriumwthafairly solidstruc-
ture that will completely exclude al! outside noise, 1have
placed my corrdors insuch away that they prevent theout-
side air from directly penetrating straight into the
auditorium; for we are well aware of the number of
dangerous illnesses and fatal diseases that are caused by
neglectingthis precaution,
The actors' dressing rooms are on the promenade and
directly accessble from the Theatre. The principal actors
would only haveto cross thecorridors andtheproximity of
the others would be related to the requirements of their
work. Bythis rneanstheDirectors could, without leavingthe
Theatre where their presence is required, givetheir orders,
have the actors called as necessary and keep an eye on
everything with unequalled ease, Itis easy to understand
how such'anarrangement would facilitate good servicing.
1tswiththesameintentions that 1have.located ontop.of
theTheatre two greenrooms, oneforthe singers andonefor
thedancers," Thesewouldensurethemall thepractice they
might need without disturbing each other, even during the
A Theatre is destined to.Greal~alI thescenes that theim-
aginatiori can conceive~a"ud. thus cannot offer too large a"
spacetothestagedesgner. Butthisspacemust hein propor-
tiontothesizeoftheauditorium,. whichisitself res.lJ ictedby
the limits of our visionand hearing and by the number of
spectators who ca,nattend the performance. Itis doubtless-
necessary'to take accountohhesc.indispensable Iimitations.
But the Theatre must nevertheless be as large as possible.
Space is also necessary for easy handling of the scenery. It
is, moreover, essential to note that depth ismoreimportant
than width.
In crowd SCeneswith many. actors. ol stag~_,_ the acton
that takes place at theback oftlleTheatre perpendicular to
the front stage is not very apparent: tlie actors in the
foreground hidethos.einthesecond rowandso-on.The ac-
tion can only take place and' be completely effective
diago.nally or parallel to the scenery. What is more, the
depth of the Theatre, far from increasing theimpact ofthe
scenery, can possible destroy it. The multiplicity of the
succl'lssiveframes forces the designer to go into too much
detail for them tobe perceptible and harmonious; theeffect
is inevitably monotonous and the piled up sets, far from
enhancing the whole, singularly destroy it.
. J t is by pronounced contrasts that one succeeds: con-
trasts need hardly more than two or three separate frames
on abackdrop. This isthesecret of themagnificent scenerY
that wehave often admired at our Italian Theatres, and we
would be able to achieve again this beautiful style in the
grand manner if theadministratio.ndevoted10this sector the
attention it deserved a,nd entrusted its supervsion a-d
executon only to. first rate Artists. This interesting aspect
has up. to now been open to many deserved gibes, which
beautiful element in architecture-e-I decide to decorate all
the Palaces ln-lliesame rnanner, won't ths repetiton make
the whole monotonous? If,inorder to preserve the not in-
___ considerable and beautiful effect of elongated lines which
results from symrnetry combinedwith reguiarity, 1 sub-
jected a11thebuildings to acommon height, would1beable
to incorporate variety,... too'? Bt if, in order to avoid the
defect of monotony and in order to Introduce variety
throughout, 1tried to decorate each Palace differently; ir 1
built themat differentheghts nd if1decorated each onein-
dividually, theresult wouldbeaneffectof'disparity, notof a
single unit, for the combinaton of a11these different
buildings would constitute akind of sma11town.
The Palaces of the Nobles and the Royal residence
should form, onthe contrary, awhole.
Such were the remarks 1made to myself as 1plunged
deeper into my subject.
Itis evident that with such a vast consttuction, thete is
always thefear that theresult wi11beaneffectofunformity
if one tries to subject al!the Palaces to the same height to
preserVeregulrity and to decorate them all in the same
manner to maintain symmetry. 43
One must,kl1owhowto avoidthis by findingmethods of
introducing variety without, however, excIuding either
regularity or'llymmetry.
1wasvery conscious of thefact that to construct agroup
of buildingsofthis size, 1had to choose afavoutable site; it
isimpossible, fbr example, to create somethingimposing on
afiat site, for when each part isonthesamelevel there isno
development: thosein the foteground inevitably hidethose
behind, thus limiting their effect; whereas when the siteis
amphitheatricl, thereisevery possibility for developingthe
effects and inttoducing movement; the diverse planes can
have infinitevariations. Is there a singleoneof us who has
not admired cities with such apropitious site, focthey offer
themost extensive, themost impressiveandat thesametime
most pleasing sight! Itwas in the light of such striking
examples that 1decided that 1should look for aplacethat
This project was completed long before there was any
question of a revoluton in France, The author thought he
shouldretain it, frstly, becausehehas nt worked sollyfor
v, France and is convinced that an Artist's ideas should be
available to a11who -mght find thern useful; secondly,
because there is good reason to think that the project con-
tains ideas that could be adapted to other monuments not
destined to be a Sovereign's residencel
When an Artist builds a residence for a Sovereign, he
must incorporate all theopulenceof Archtecture andmake
useofall the splendour and magnificente ofthe finearts.
~We: have already noted that the Ancients added to the
dignity of their mouments by buildingwalls around them.
But what type of surrounding wall would meet all the
requirements and also contribute to improving the overall
effectofa Palace? That is what weshall now considero
Theimpact ofsplendour and magnificencehas ilSsource
inthe grouping of objetts that arouse Ouradmiration. That
is why 1decided that thesurrounding wallsof thePalace of
theSovereignshouldconsist only of thepalaces bf thecourt
nobles; that was the only form of wall that would be ap-
propriate and that thislarge, majestic group bf buildings
would result in lhe most exquisite effect; for example, its
expanse w0uld make an extraordinary impression on us,
bringing us closer to infinity; its magnificenceWoulddazzle
us wilhitsimpat; and; finally, thesplendour resultingfrom
thegtouping of beautiful objects wouldarouSeinus asense
J t was on fhebasis of these ideas that 1wanted to begin
work. But when 1began to refiect on howto planthis large
group of buildings, 1found myself at a standstill as 1shall
now describe. 1hope thereader wiIl fromtimeto timeaIlow
meto puthim inmy place.
1saidto lTIy~elf' "T!w~palaceof Soveregn, whichwould
besurroundfby the phlaces ofan thePrinces ofthe Court,
should without doubt beaslargeas possible. Artdso, onac-
count of its size, 1must vary the effects. But if, in order to
preserve aIt effect of perfect symmetry-which isthemost
ThePalaceof the Soveregn
number of'extra seats Icould makeroomfor. 1haveenough
to meet requirements; and all of themaregood, Nowthat 1
had satisfied these two needs 1could and doubtless even
should think about how to givemy auditorium apleasing
overall appearance correspondng toits function. 1beleved
that theTemple of pleasure should giveus pleasure.
Finally, 1wanted togivethemost pleasing effectpossible
andthought that I couldachieveitby placingl)J espectators
in such a way that they provided the decoraton for my
auditorium. In fact, 1 believe that by assembling and
grouping themembers of thebeautiful sex andplacingthem
in such a way that they provide the bas-reliefs of my
architecture, I have given my settng the stamp and
character of grace.
necessary to be able to see and hear perfectly and what
shape fulfils these two requirernents better than the one
whose exactly equal radii give the ear and eye the greatest
and -most .equitably distributed freedom; where no point
hides .another and where, for this reason, a11speetators on
the same level can see and hear equally we11.Moreover, this
shape enabled me to encIose m)' audtorium wth spherical
vaulting which not only has the advantage of'being asimple
form ofdecoraton in good taste, but whch is also the most
favourable from an acoustic point of view.
1have decorated the inside of my auditorium and I was
not afraid to use a11the riches of architecture to adorn it by
incorporating columna. The proportions and layout 1used
made me certain that it would be appropriate, agreeable and
adequate; 1 did not want to debase art by calculating the
ture by placng the entrance to the prisons underneath the
\ Itseemedto methat if I placed this augustPalaceabove
Itheshadowy lairof'Crime, 1shouldnot only showto advan-
Uage the nobility of the archtecture on. accpunt of the
resulting contrast, but 1 should also have an impressive
metaphorical image of Viceoverwhelmed by the weight of
J ustice.
Thedecoraton of thisPalace shouldbeboth majestic and
impressive. Itis the archtecture that must produce this
effect, But since there is more than one monument that
requires a more or less similar character, 1decided that 1
should attempt to define this clearly by rneans of ap-
propriate methods that were characteristic of this monu-
1decided that 1couldincorporate the.Poetry of architec-
ThePalace of Justice
being any notion of work. He informs us that he became
perfectlyfamiliarwiththeLatnlanguage, wthout evenbeing
aware of it for alI those around himduring his childhood
spoke to himonly inthat language- ~u'must admit that it
would bepossibleto impart much knowledgeto children by
placng them in the company of men who conversed with
themonly on subjects they wanted to teach themand who
would thus inculcate knowledge in them without their
applying themselves to thetask. Montaigne's viewsseemed
to me to offer many advantages that would facilitate the
progress of our education inmoreways than one."1saidto
myself, "Why should wenot reap thebenet ofthe viewsof
this great man if, by following them, we can indeed find
methods to facilitate education, especially that of Princes?
Why should wenot make useof his viewswhich, it cannot
be denied, would affect a man's happiness for it is certain
that themore educated heis, thehappier hewill be?"47
I should deal here strictly with what concerns Architec-
ture; which is why I will not proceed further withthis sub-
ject. I will merely observe that on the basis of his obser-
vations, I decidedthat I shouldlocatetheAcademies within
the group of buildings constituting the Palace, not only so
that theyoung Princes can bebrought up inthis sanctuary
of knowledge but also so that those responsible for their
education will beableto frequent themost learned menand
sothat theMonarch himself will beableto enjoy theconver-
sation of the rrostenlightened men inhis Kngdom, '
1decided that thedignity of theSovereigndemanded that
thethrone of justice beintheproximity ofhisown, In addi-
tion, I assumed that it-might perhaps beappropriate for the
young Princes'to complete their education intheTemple of
Themis. In accordance with thecustoms ofthe Ancients, 1
havealsoplacedtherethebuildingsdestinedfor thephysical
training of the young.
Intheplan of thegeneral disposition, you will note that 1
havediverted water fromtheriver intheviHageofNanterre
in order to create a canal two leagues long whch will pass
through the Vezinet woods and arrive directly opposite the
Palace; this canal will thus constitute a magnificent mirror
whereall thebeauties of nature will bereflectedinthousands
and thousands of dfferent ways. On thebanks of this large
Canal 1have placed the avenues which will lead to the
Palaceinthemost splendid and agreeable manner possible.
Themore1thought about thebeauty onthesite,themore
tempted I wastogointo detail. Why isour lifesoephemeral!
wouldgivemeall theadvantages appropriate to rnysubject,
and without which I could not bring it to a successful
Itseemed to me that the ideal location for such a
residenceinFrance wouldbeStoGermain-en-Laye, 1was all
the more resolved to choose this place, for by giving it
preference I was also obeyingoneofthe most essentiallaws
of architecture and onewhich Vtruvius" was right toinsist
on: I amreferring to salubrity. For it is aknown fact that in
St. Germain theair onebreathes ispureoItisalso afact that
in this pleasant place one can enjoy all the beauties of
I have therefore set this Palace on the vast, magnificent
amphitheatre formed bythemount of St. Germain-en-Laye,
I have so placed it that it appeared to form a part of the
Heavens, Although the superb surrounding wall formed by
thePalaces of theNobles isvery high, itisstill dominated by
the residence of the Monarch. An onlooker standing at an
appropriate distance at a glance can seeand take inall the
separate buildings that formthe whole.
I drew up my plans insuch away that each Palace seen
separately presented apleasing whole.
Thanks to this beautiful setting 1was ableto arrange the
buildings as 1 had intended so as to preserve perfect
syrnmetry and fine regularity, without, however-or so 1
beleve=-falling into thedefect of monotony.
Although time is a destroyer of customs it does allow
sorne of them to persist long enough for us to be able to
count on their survival. With respect to the household
arrangements of aMonarch, thedispositionof hisPalace is
subject tofrequent changes for, as'Yithmany other things, it
is dependent oncurrent fashion. But thegeneral disposition,
which concerns the majesty that isdueto theThrone, is, so
to speak, immutable. Itisthis disposition that will reveal the .
talents of the architect. I will not repeat here the
explanations I have already given on this subject. My
Memorandum ontherestoration ofthe Palaee-of Versailles
can beconsulted. There, I havetriedtogivetheexplanations
necessary to forman opinion of my work."
I decided that I should givemy magination freerein in
this project and 1have tried to incorporate all that I con-
sidered .necessary and desirable in the Palace of the
Sovereign, Montaigne gave mesorneideas of which1took
advantage and whichenabled metoimprovethedisposition
of my Palace. In his reflexions on education, heprescribes
methods for educating chldren without, so to speak, there
toIdmyselfthat a murticipal Palae was not merely aplace
destined for the district magistrates, but that it belonged tb
ano Itisin such aplace that the citizens givevoiceto their
complaints and where they attend the most important
Theoutside of thisMonument must bedignified: itwbuld
beappropriate to surround it withthearmed forces.
:.....- _
1was sixty"four years old when 1didthis project. An
author cannot fiatter himselfthat heis at fuIl strength at that
age; however, J considet that this construction is perhaps
not oneof my lesser works. But it isnot my opinionthat we
.are discussing here: '
When 1wasworking onthedesgn of t:hisbuilding, I tried
to beinfortned oneverything that wasrelevant or essential; 1
Municipal Palace
1haveplaced an atrioaboyeitswalls; it isdecorated with
a bas- reliefIrepresentng our national festivals): finally, 1
thought 1should crown ths Building withthe greatest vic-
tory anation candesire, that of freedom.
I say this with akind of confidence; 1believethat 1have
found the appropriate means of characterizing this great
subject and the olear: but I amfar frombelieving
that a man of gertius could not turn it to better account; 1
inviteall artists to enter thefray; may their ideas developas
they strive to elevatethemto the heights of such a subject
and may they not forget the work of the Immortals of the
Greek Republic."
1havejust onemorewordtoadd: whenI beganthiswork,
1thought ttwas myduty to try and proceed wtheconomy;
eonsequently, when I chose the convent of the former
Capuchin nuns, 1drew up a plan limitingrnyself to theold
buildings; you wilI seethat as far as possible I have met all
the funotional needs of this monumento But my sprit
revolted; and desirous of gvngmy imagnaton free rein, 1
drew up a second plan. If they are compared, it will be
evident that holding anArtist's Genius incheck istodestroy
al!thegiftsthat nature has bestowed onhim.
1have said that Architects should make a point of incor-
poratng Poetry in their architecture, aboye all when they
have been commissioned to bUilda public monumento 1
strongly advise them to offer us what are to some extent
Poerns, etc., etc.
It is useless to insist here on the fact that a National
Palace morethan any othet buildingshoud offer us..notthe
silentimageof'archtecture but themost expressiveimageof
art. In accordance wththese views1did not condescnd to
usefor this project the sterileopulence of architecture,
After longreexon asto rnethods of incorporating inthis
._ bllildingthe Poetry of Architecture, I .decded that nothing
wouldbemore striking or more characteristic than building
thewalls of this Palace withthetables of theConstitutional
Iaws, 1said to myself, What image can arouse greater in-
terest than the onethat dsplays theLaw, whichisIoved by
all sinceal!desiredit!
To embellishthewal!softhis Palace andpresent atableau
of contemporary events, I placed at their base two
. stylobates, on whichrplaced tworows of figuresindicating
the nurriber of our provinces, each one holding a book of
decrees and thus announcing the assent of the People who
have sent them.
TheNational Palace
front. Between these buildings and those forming the
facades where the seprate jursdictions areplaced, thereis
an intermediare gallerywhch extends right round theinsde
periphery, This gallery leads to and from everywhere, It
enables thePublic tomove freely inall parts ofthe building.
Sincethedisposition is simple, tis also uncomplicated and
convenent, Theeourtyards atthe corners le inlight and air
and make every part of it salubrious.
The low Buldings on the outside are destied for the
archives and as prisons. Since their arrangement is of no
great interest, 1have not goneinto detal,
1have made this Palace aslarge as possible because the
dwelling place of the Throne of J ustice rnust be very im-
posing. If I haveachievedthegoal 1setmyselfby attempting
to givecharacter to this monument, 1have accomplished a
In order to gve this Palace suitable majesty, 1have made
it domnate aU that surrounds it. 1have rased tso that t
appears to bepart of theHeavens, and 1havesurrounded it
withthemost brilliant lightsothat itisresplendent. I decided
1wouldplacetheentrance to theprisons at ground level, as
if they Werethe precarious tomb of'criminals. Sinceit is a
fact that thenoblemajesty of architecture derives fromthe
simplicity of its rnasses, I didnot accept any divisinin the
Palace facade, Itwas the majestic order of its decoration
that gave this rrronument all the dignity that should
characterize it, -
Inmy plan, theexterior is aperfect square; thebuildings
inside from a Greek cross. This part of the buildings con-
tains al! theroyal courts. The Parliamentary courts oceupy
the centre. The Excise Board and Audit Officeare on the
sides. Thechapel isat theback andthelawyers' chambers in
festival which.the Public cannot enjoy? It is adecision and
such a decision i~aninsult to the citizens. 1wonder if even
onehundredth of theinhabitants of Paris wereableto enjoy
- thefestvalsgiven at theHotel deVille.Spaceissorestricted
that there Co.uldhardly have been roorn for thecarriages of
the King and all his retinue.
Itseems tbat those inofficeintheCity thought that they
aloneshouldhavethesatisfaction of receivingtheMonarch,
and that they Wo.uldexclude all others.
You will recaH the calamities that acco.mpanied the
festivals that wereheld also on the siteof the Place Louis
Quinze: andyou will remernber that rnany peopleperished
there.51 Is it not appalling fhat the pleasure of the pUblic
shouldbe marred by such happenings? 1havenot seenany
public festival Ihat has n01sent gossipmongers to the civic
authorties; andweknowthat thelatter havealso beensume
The Coliseum in Rome is onerf Italy's rnost beautiful
monuments~50Its mass forms a majestic and impressive
Butitsdeco.rationdidnot seemtometo bein.keepingwith
good ar<:hitectureand nor didit fulfil itsaims.
1therefo.redecidedthat anattemptto decorateit moreap-
propriately would beto embark on one.of thebest possible
architectural studies. My intention was to confinemyself to
simpl~restoration work; but on further refl~xion, 1decided
that tbismo.nument couldbeadapted toout customs andwe
shall se.e,o.rsoit seems to rne, that thi~could bedone.
When wecon~ider tho~epublic festivals that wereheldin
Pars in the past to proclairn natio.nal \\lenbeing, we are
forced to admit that they wererarely heldin aplace where
the citizens could fully enjoy them. And why proclaim
national well being' by mean~of an extremely expensive
similar type, 1have succeeded inintroducing movement by
usingthecontrast between theforeground andbackground,
adevicewhich often destroys noble simplicity.
Itis not by followinginother's footsteps that an Author
distinguishes himself inthearts, I'shettld'like totake thisop-
portunity to offer the reader the following thought. A very
difficult subject is onethat is not well defined, Orwhich has
never been dealt with before; but if someone succeeds in
giving a character to such a subject and aIl the impact to
whichit is susceptible, then hereveals his true talents.
There are certain subjectsin Poetry and in Painting, as in
architecture, which aremore or lessfavourable: inarchitec-
ture, for example, aTheatre, aCenotaph or atempleare all
well defined subjects that can consequently he easily
grasped and characterized by agiftedhand.
Housing projects are sterile subjects: the only way to
make them stand out is by making them more or less
opulent; it isdifficulttointroduce thePoetry of architecture.
A Municipal Palace would be easier to describe than to
build: onesenses what means areavailabletotheorator and
not appropriate to architecture; however, evenat therisk of
being accused of vanity, 1consider that the architecture of
the Palace 1amproposing is appropriate to it alone.
When1prepared theplanof'this monument 1thought that
1should followthe example of various Italian palaces and
locate the finest fioor at a higher level: necessity and order
forced this on me: the wholeofthe ground foor isintended
for the Public: the main hall occupies .the centre; it is
preceded by the waiting and conference rooms. 1 have
located all theoffioesonthemezzanine oor, andthewhole
ofthe upper floor isiritended for the magistrates,
Itisonly frnacertan height that panoramas attain their
full scope and that wecan enjoy what is called abeautiful
view; it is also ata certain height that webreathe pure airo
These considerations are mportant enough to havemade
me decide that in certain circumstances the groundfloor
should not always bethemost favoured.
Next 1refiected on the type of decoration that would be
appropriate for this monument and 1decided that it should
have a proud, virile character that would be suitable to
Republicans. 1therefore attempted to make the whole asim-
posingas possible; anditwas inan attempt tomake it stand
out as much as1possibly couldthat I decidedto giveminor
importance only to the archtectural orders, In thisrespect,
it was very different from the other palaces I have built,
which all demanded what wecal! magnificence and which 1,
decorated with al! theriches of architecture,
In order to proclaimthe function of this monument and,
as1havestated aboye; tocharacterize it asbelongingto all, 1
incorporated connecting gallerieseverywhere and countless
apertures sothat aswarmof mencouldenter andleavefree-
Iyand without confuson."
Withtheaimof givingdignitytothismonument andtoin-
troduce thePoetry of architecture, 1placed guard-houses at
thefour anglesofthe foundations ofthe buildingtoproclaim
metaphorically that the forces of public order arethebasis
of society,
Since1havemadeit myduty to.nstruct.the reader byput-
tng him in my place, 1 will describe in sorne detail the
difficulties1had to overcome, Whle reflectingon methods
of decorating the monument in aproud, virilefashion, and
on thenecessity ofincorporating many apertures, you may
imaginethat I found myself broughtto astandstill and.inthe
greatest difficulty; if it was to be open to all, it must of
necessity resemble a kind of beehive; and a Municipal
Palace is indeed a hve of humanity; now, anyone who
knows anything .about architecture knows how a large
number of apertures can diminish afa;acte;jn decoration it
is smooth masses that .gjveavirile-effctand here, if 1may
say so, lies the ingenuity of my decoration for the many
apertures rneant that 1couldnot havesmooth surfaces inthe
width of the building and so. 1incorporated them in the--.
height, Itis for this reason that inthearchitecture there are
largeintervals between the stories.
You will observe that inthis monument;--a-fihothers of a
Extrael from a Memorandum on Cireuses by (he AM
Brotier,57read by him at a publie meeting vfthe Aeademy of
Belles Lettres
The resOurces of Romulus's genius finally led lo the es-
tablishment of the Circus Games;. the City had been
founded; as a result of the protection it offered, awarlike
people had come into being. It was successful in war and
neighbouring nations formed a leagueto destroy utterly a
people which had made itself feared as soon as it had
emerged; but their plan quickly succumbed to thedeceptive
lure of pleasure. In the specious guise of honouring.
Equestrian Neptune, Romwus h~dannounced sornegames;
theNations forgot their rivalry: theyflockedtotheIll andthe
rape of the Sabine women ensured the survival and victory
of Rome~it was thenew wiveswho disarmed {heanger of
theit Fathers; and so Sabines and Romans now tied by
blood no longer conspired except to contribute to theglory
ofthe founder ofRome; andthegames becameahomageto
1will not givea detailed account of this project, A glance
at my work will be more instructive than any descriptions
I can give;54I have located this monument in that place
at the top of theChamps Elysees that iscalled theEtoile so
that the Public will haveeasy access andconvenent outlets,
Itwill be seen that the monument is open on all sidesto
facilitate entry into the arena; that I haveneorporated
countless staircses leading 'to the amphitheatre; that
everythingfar beyondall onecoulddesireisprovidedfor un-
hindered entry and exit; that 1havenot neglectedtoprovide
plenty of cover by placing enough galleries under the
amphitheatre to hold all those assembled there, etc., etc.
Irl could givecredence to what many artists havesaidto
meabout this project, I should have good reason to believe
that 1had succeededinfindingtheappropriate character for
this type of structure; if that were so, I should have com-
pleted atask which, doubtless less on .account of my talent
than of'thepatriotc ntentions that guidedme, would mean
"that 1deserved well of my fellowcitizens.
When 1had completedthisproject, I immediately showed
it to my friend Mr, Le RoyS5who is a Professor at the
Academy of Architecure; I didnot omit to speakto himof
the patriotic intentions that had guided me. My frerrd
listened to me attentively and then asked if 1was familiar
with a memorandum on Circuses by the AbbBrotier,"
which he had read to the .Academy of Belles Lettres. 1
replied that 1had not heard of ths Memorndum and he
seemed surprised for hetoldmethat my viewshad much in
common with those expressed in the writngs of the Abb
Brotier; he sent.theseto mefor I had lost no timeinasking
for them. 1wasdelightedtofndthat theideas of'honest men
are almost identical. Since I was also forced to admit that
although theAbb Brotier had hadthe Sameideas as I had,
heisa rrtanofletters andhad succeeded ihpresenting them
much better than I could, 1decided therefore that 1should
give here an extract from his excellent memorandum. I
wouldhavelikedto havehad thesameadvantagewithregard
to aHthe subjects 1havediscussed. For if 1had managed to
dispense with writing, 1 would have confined rrtyself to
showingrnydrawings tomyfellowcitizens; but goodor bad;
1had to make my voiceheard.
moned by the Parliamentary Court to explain their conducto
In view of'this state ofaffairs, 1consdered it my duty as a
good citizen to turn my attention to a project that would
enable the nhabtants of Pars to enjoy public festivities
without having tofear any unfortunate consequences. Inad-
dition to the reasons 1 have just enumerated, there is
another, rnuch more mportant one, which isto bring back
In fact it is not always the fear of punishment that
restrains men and keeps them fromwrongdoing; .it is also
possbleto keepthemfromdoing wrong by offerngthem a
public entertainment.P What formcouldthis entertainment
take? Natonal celebrations, Yes, national celebrations. All
that plays onour sensesis reected inour souls, Itisonthis
principiethat all national celebratons should bebased; and
if they wereall thus, they woulddoubtless provide an effec-
tivemeans of incting and preservng morality,
Ancient lawmakers rcognized .and put nto effect this
expedient. Itwas for both political and moral ends that the
Romans instituted their festvals, If welook at history, we
will beconvinced that men change completely according to
Whether they have good or bad leaders.
Natonal celebratins are both noble and impressive. In
full viewof all, the citizen's soul is uplifted and purified.
Why don't wetake advantage of such methods which, far
fromdemanding sacrifices, reinstate moralty through the
Theplan fora circus, which1amincluding, isintended to
servebth moral andpolitcal ends. 1havemadesurethat no
other entertainment could be more splendid or more
magnfcent; and, inviewof the motives that inspired me, I
dare say that nothing could be more moving or more
Imagine three hundred thousand peoplegathered inan
amphitheatre where none could escape the eyes of the
-crowd. The effect produced by this combination of cir-
cumstances would be unique. The spectators would bethe
elements of this surprising spectacIe and they alone would
beresponsible fot its beauty. Themost glitteringcelebration
wouldgiveriseto many different pleasures andwouldexcite
newinterest among this great assembly. Indeed, what could
bemore interesting than to seethis superb arena filledwith
glowingyouth endeavouringto distinguish itself insportsof
every kind; for example, who wouldprove most agiteinthe
races; who would prove himself most able to defend the
Fatherland in the military manoeuvres. Itwould beinlms
arena, now amost interesting place, that theprizes wonby
thedifferent academies wouldbeawarded. Theauthors who
had distinguished themselves by good work would be
crowned there. The hardworking farmer would receive
there, inthe midst of public acclaim, therewards ofhis toil
and virtue.
There the paintings and models of the structures to be
built would be shown to the PublicoThe citizens' interest
could be arosed insomany different ways! Fathets would
seetheit children distinguish themselves; andthejoy of the
happ~fathers would be shared by their friends. The Public
would be ableto" :onTmplateand single out what would
bring honour lo the nation and arouse the admiration of
Foreigners. Thus, it seemSto me, that through such truly
nacional celebrations organzed toUpliftthe soul andputthe
citizensontheir mettle, wewouldsucceed inbringingback a
still hadan auraoffreedom, but whch, likethepeople, sensed
that feelingofgrandeur andmajesty thatcommands wonder
and respect. After the majestic pomp of Religion, after the
usual songs and sacrifices, the starting signal is given. The
brilliant eliteof themost nobleyouth opensthegames witha
chariot race. They rush forward with an ardour aroused by
their long wait, illustrious names -Illloaglorious victory.
Sevencircuitsof theCircus arecompleted; atlightningspeed
thefortunate winner skirts theturnngpost, avoidsitandvic-
tory ishis. TheCircus responds withapplause. Inthemiddle
of' these joyful demonstrations, an even livelier and more
feverish race begins, Spectators, guides and horses, all are
agtated, trembling, Fromoneraceto thenext thefervour is
renewed: itmounts until asmany victories arewonasthesun
takes hours to traverse thesky betweenrisingand setting.
Thelast day of thegames givenby Caesar was worthy of
a warrior people and of the hero who had just celebrated
four victories. Caesar had hadtheturning posts taken out of
theCircus to makeroomfor two camps sothat Rome could
seeall the scenes of'war. On this martialday, theassembly
admired twenty Elephants defeated by Five hundred foot-
solders, and another twenty elephants, their towers ontheir
backs, each carryng sixty soldiers, assaulted and beseiged
by fivehundred footsoldiersand fivehundred cavalry.
Maecenas revealedthe secret of theRoman games when
hegaveCaesat'sheir sorneadvice, Hesaid, "Reme must be
decorated inthe most superb manner and the splendour of
all thegames must presidethere, Theexaltedposition of our
Empire demands the greatest magnificence. This is the
meansof ensuringtherespect of our alliesandthefear of our
enemes, Let other cities havecelebrations, butnot our Cir-
cus games; and ensure that the expenses of the spectacles
areburdensome neither for thePublic!lorfor individuals ...
.If I consider tlat our Circus games.should not exist outside
Rome it is to prevent ruinous expenditure, to avoid
provoking intdgu~s and factions and aboye all to arrange
excellent horseraces for our cavalry.
For thesereasons I decidedthat theCircus games should
take place only in Rome. Wherever lhe other games are
held, they should attempt to. givepleasure to t4e eyes and
ears al reasonable expenseand everywhere awateh should
bekept on honesty and public order."
You will perhaps ask what it was that madethese Circus
games sofascinating. Myreply will be, "Did they not havea
supero building with magnificent porticos and splendid Of-
naments: in the. rniddleof the altars weremonuments that
the Romans appreciated, whichreminded themofnature's
wonders and most precious ereations; inthe resplendent
opulenceof theArena, whichg!itteredsometimes withsilver
.andsometimes withgold, Raees wereheldinwhichhuman
skill, combined with the efforts of the most beautiful, the
proudest and the most docHeanimal s, executed thefastest,
most amazing rnovements; other races inwhich man, with
no outside help, deployed such strength and skiUthat even
asfar astheadvantages of thebody wereconcerned, hewas
assured of superiority over lhe various creatures which in-
habit theuniverse. Itis here that weseemen competing in
the foot-races endure a course Qf one hundred and sixty
thousand paces or 48 tFrench leagues, each league beiog
2,500fathoms. 1wiUnot speak ofthe other spectacles ofthe
Circus, where .all that is most rare and unique in the
Universe was to be.seen.
theGod ofCounsel.
Thegames existed; theCircus not yet. Romewas lacking
a genius who would graft onto thewise, proud soul of the
Romans the good taste and talent of the Greeks and
Tuscans. This was done by the first Tarqun, a native of
Corinth brought upin Etruria.S8 Fromthemoment hebegan
to govern Rome, he seemed to anticipate her future
grandeur, Thelaws governing Triumphs, theindestructible
. arrangement of'thecanals, theCapitol andtheCircus paved
.the way to glory ina City destined to ruletheuniverse. He
was perhaps the first to beIievethat King should give
pleasure to his people and that a nation's pleasure must
breathe grandeur. Full of such ideas, he chose in the Mar-
cianvalley between thePalatine Hinand
the Aventne and soon a Circus large enough to house one
hundred and fiftythousand spectators wasbuilt. ThePrince
himself, surrounded by his People, presided over thegames;
and the right to give the starting signal to the chargers
became aroyal prerogative.
These games, far from underrnining the spirit of the
Romans, seemedonthecontrary tomakethemprouder and
more formidable when they suffered setbacks, The frst
seventeen years of the second Punte War, the most bloody
that the Romans had ever endured, provided thesolealter-
native to battles O c games; battles that were often direand
games that werealways political and always religious. Inan
equally astonishing contrast the Circus games sustained the
courage of the Romans and idleness sapped Hannibal's,
Why? Beeausethesegames wereanational celebration and
every national celebraton uplfts and ennobles the soul,
ldelness was merely an individual celebration and almost
always had aweakening, emasculating effect.
Itwas in the Circuses that the greatestRoman warriors
received therewardoftheir vict()r.iesovr themost warlike
peoples. Scy(la brought on one hundred ferocious !ionsto
giveakinglikepeoplethespectacleof anAfrican l:lUntandto
show them that Africa respecte<:itheir laws; Pompey had
twenty elephants fight there to show how far he had
extended the lirts of Roman domination and how great
was the ostentation and the pOWerof theKings of Asia;
Lucullus decorated Flarninius's Circus with the arms and
war machines of defeated Armenia. But agreater man than
Scylla or Lucullus or PQmpey appeared in Rome. Under
such apowerful geniustheRepublic couldnolonger exist; it
hadto hveamaster. TheCircus wouldnowattain thesumc-
mumof lts splendour: it wouldbecome thepropof imperial
Dornination andthe People's delight.
It was one of Julius Caesar's coups d'tats:. the formoi'
Government needed to be changed; as aprelude to this he
changed the Circus: he enlarged it, surrounded it with a
larger, moremagnificent Buildingwhichextendedthe whole
lengthof thethreestadia, Le. 2,087feet and 4 arpents or 960
feet wide. This monument to magnificence proclaimed to
Rome that shewouldbe exalted until she became theequal
of or surpassed the most famous Cities. The Senate con-
ferredon ~aesar thehonour of givingthestarting signal for
.aHthe Circs games. This step.tQwardsthesupremepower
Wassupported by thegames most likelyto make thepeople
drunk withjoyoIt1S a{this point that weshoul<:ienjoy the
greatest of spectacles that Roman politics stiUprovided.
J uIius Caesarin theCircus in the midst.oftwo hundred
andfiftythousand menhad around himintheSenate, which
diton to giving hirn an opportunity to develop his talent, it
haS the precious advantage of enabling him to devote it to
Ifthere is one project that should please an Architect and,
at the sametime, fire his genius, itis a Public Library. In ad-
Public. Library62
Domitian who was master of'an ernpre where wealth per-
mitted the human spirit to indulge in everything, wanted to
erase al! that had happened before hs reign. He added two
new colours to the four already established for ds-
tinguishing the reins that guided the chariots, and the
colours he chose were two of the richest: gold and Purple.
AlI his magnificente was deployed for the secular games
celebrated in the Year of'Rome 841. The hero could truthful-
ly say that no. one had yet seen or would see again such
games, Nothing had ever approached, nothing would ever
approach this most astonishing and magnicent spectacle,
At thegames given by Augustus in 737,twenty-five races
in which one hundred chariots representing the years of the
reign covered a distance of'three hundred thousand paces or
approximately ninety leagues, aroused amazement. Under
Domitian the day was much more splendid. One .hundred
racesrepresented the arrnies of the age. Bt nature has its
limits and Domtian could not violate them; he was deter-
mned to succeed and elminated two of'the customary seven
crcuits for each race, After making this wise rule, he
provided a good example of speed in movement; and he
provided itwith the pomp and opulence worthy of'the most
important sovereign in the world, Six hundred chariots and
two thoustliitI-fourhundred horses competed in the hundred
races; in fourteen or fifteen houes they covered a distance of
fout hundred afid thirty-six thousand paces Orapproximate-
'Iy 120 Leagues. We would never have known such
prodigious speed and spectacIe had there notremained sorne
trace o.f it il). the Efiglisll:taeing at Newrnarket.61
After such. a -p6werful effort, Trajan's genis. was
necessary to maintain and enhance the splendour of the
garnes. This finest of Prifices saw the Circus as Juliu$
Caesar had Seen it. Rome had grown; Trajan added five
thousand seats to the Circus; the traces of the havoc caused
by fires disappeared nd the rnagnificence ofthe huge part of
the Circus that he repaired vied With the most beautiful
temples. The Box in which the sat to watch the
games was plled down. Trajan preferred to be among his
Peo.ple, to see and be seen, to. share their pleasure, 10 corn-
municate his, to fin aH hearts with the joy and satisfaction
that he felt. This Was a foretaste of that glorious reign, the
mOst brilliaRt and the happiest that Rorne had known and
which the whole wo.rld stil1wonders at. Itwas here that his
victories and Triurnphs were celebrated. The ambassadors
of the Barbarian Nations and India came here to pay
homage to his valour and to witness the garnes that lasted
fo.r 123 days.
The Reign of Trajan broght to an end the greatest splen-
dour of the Empire and the Circus Games. There
WaS some brilliance under Hadrian and uitder the An-
tonines, but itwas doser to singularity than true grandeur.
Let us limt ourseves to the chariot races. Before entering
the Arena each team already had ts side and faction. Al
court, in the Senate, among the equestran order, amongthe
People, cabals had been fixed and bets multiplied on all
sides; all speech, allntrigues concerned exclusively the Cir-
cus. It opens: everyone takes his place with the interest of
peoplewho are about to decide o.rshape avictory; they look
at one another, ask questions; every side is irnpatient, the
shouting begins, The horses are impatient to cross the
barriers and stand trembling, All eyes are fixed on the face,
the hand that will give the signal. The chariots are off; im-
mediately the shouting doubles; the shouting is .followed
among the various faetions by applause, encouragernent,
expressions of fear and dread, transports of'jcy and Victory
as the chariots advance, lag behind, collide, lean or are over-
turned, approach the turning post, slip past t and are
crowned with glory, During this race thereis not an instant,
not a split second, when the interest remains static; thereis
always hope and fear; everywhere, in every row, in every
seat, there is acton, agitation. Itis as if the two hundred and
fifty thousand spectators were driving two hundred and fifty
thousand chariots. The horses=-those proud, spirited
animals, dispo.sed lo glory, sensitive to. censure, inflamed by
the spectacle and by the cries thi resound on every side,
excited by the reins that their own ardour and the fervour of
the public carry fo.rward-make a last effo.rt and struggle
against aII bstacles. In the co.ntinual clash of interest and
mo.vernent, that alo.necan absorb and impasso.n awho.le na-
Hon, the o.nlyreproach that co.uld be fiade ls the short dura-
to.n of the pleasure; but there are as many'as twenty-fo.ut
races, o.ncertain days upto. forty"eight; a uniqueadvantage
o.f the Circs which repeats its pleasutes, redouhles o.ur sen-
sations and the acuteness o.f sensatons.
Mr. ThornhUfs race has been rightly co.m-
..mended.S9 He 215 English Miles (approximateIy n
French leagues) in eleven ho.urs and thirty-two. minutes. The
speed ofthe Circus chario.ts is even asio.nishing ifi that,
on those days when there were 48 races, the chario.ts
co.vered in alrnost the same period oftme, two. hundred and
ninety-fo.ur thousand paces or about 88 leagues. Under
Do.mitan We shall see even greater speeds.
When Caesar's succesSots came to. the Throne'they did
no.t abando.n this po.licy. Vespasian erected a superb
al11phitheatre, and the Citcus reverted to its first glorious
functio.n. Titus devo.ted the rnagnificent games solely
to charlo.t raCng; hevaried them fo.r ahundted days; and he
distributed to the irnrnense crowd gatheredfor the spectacle
tessera60 listing the gifts of food, c1othing, gold afid silver
vases, ho.rses, herds and Slaves that he had donated. Ho.w
great is the jo.y of a Nation when ils Prince bestows on it
pleasure and Riches.
the Library can be seen from that central point." With
regard to the plan for using the existing buildings, all the
proposals revealed agroup of unattractive structures, badly
andinconveniently arranged withinaddition acquistions to
bemade that would add to theexpensebecause it wouldbe
neccessary to knock down and rebuild the houses that
wouldhavetobebought; and soitwasobvious (thiswasthe
general opinion) that neither thesite, nor thearrangement of
the buildings would permit the provision.. of the basic
requirements of this monumento
The Minister of Finance has commissioned me to build
the newentrance to the Bourse and I was impressed by his
opinion of my projects; 1redoubled my efforts to comply
with his wisbes/" 1thought that if previous Ministers had
concerned themselves with the establishment of a suitable
Public Lbrary, then hetoo would make it his concern and
the Minister of the Interior [Barn deBreteuil, Minister of
the Department of Paris], who also appeared to be in-
terested inthe arts, would beequally aware of'the great im-
portance of this project,
The Superintendent of Buildings was aware of this need
andinstructed meto draw uptheplans for aPublic Library
on the Capucine sitenear the Place Vendme. After going
into all the detail necessary for this work, 1myself was
forced to conclude that the expensewould beexcessive.
I therefore madeit arulethat for thisnewattempt 1would
giveup all ideaof a cornpletely newproject,
I am accustomed to struggling against obstacles and I
therefore dared to turn my thoughts to thepresent location.
Perhaps 1wasmorefortunate than others whothought there
wasno possibility of successthere, for itwasfor thisrejected
sitethat 1madethepresent project; andit seemstomethat if
1had been aHowedto plan giving freerein to my ideas, to
develop them and to choose a site, it wouId have been
difJ icultfor lJ 1eto incorporate better aHtheadvantages that
this monument demands.
In addition, thecost is soreasonable incomparison with
what it would be on any other site, that it is not worthy of
our attention. J ust the description of this scheme wiII
demonstrate plainly thetruth of my proposal. It isnot even
necessary to havetheplan infront of you.
Methods for givmg to the Library called the King's
Library theadvantages appropriate to such abuilding.
The building that is most precious to a Nation is un-
doubtedly one which houses all acquired knowledge. An
enlightened sovereign will always be in favour of methods
that contribute to the progress of the arts and scences,
During the reign of Louis XIV, the number of books in
the library was increased by more than seventy thousand
volumes, Under Louis XV itwas further increased.
Sincethen, newacquisitions havebeenordered daily. Our
literary wealth is increasng prodigiously and it is obvious
that theexistingbuiIdings areno longer sufflcientlylargeto
houseit. Thenecessity of enlargng.thesbuildings has been
recognized for so long that successive Ministers have all
been concerned with this important subject, Among the
various projects that haveheldthe Government's attention
was one proposing the construction of a Library on the
Capucine sitein the rue StoHonor. Then there was sorne
discussion about transferring this establishment to the
Louvre, Finally, suggestions weremade in connexion with
the present site.
Thebuildingproject has always caused alarmbecause of
theconsiderable expenseinvolved. This has always beenes-
timated at between fifteen and eighteen million, with the
resuit that no one has seriously considered executing this
Thetransfer of this establishment to theLouvrehas beer
warmly welcomed and at first sight would appear to bethe
best choicepossible. But attention was paid to certain well-
informed persons whodemonstrated that inspiteof thesize,
attractiveness andopulenceofthe buildingsofthis Palace, it
would not be possible to provide there all the advantages
demanded by thismonumentoThereasons givenwerebased
onthefact that inthegalleriesthat succeedoneanother inall
directions, not only would the service be slow, but sur-
veillance\Vouldbedifficultandtiresome. Theservicewould
beslowbecause ofthe longdistances tobecovered. TheSUf-
veillancewould betiresome because it would beimpossible
10 seethe public inthegalleries which run inall directions.
Mention Wasmadeof theRome Library wherethegalleries
leadofffrom acentral point withtheresult that everyone in
who commissioned it. The fundamental idea of the Project
was that 1lmit myself to existing buildings by seeking to
arrange them suitably; that was already difficult enough;
what made it even more so was findng a decoration that
wouldbe both noble and impressive. Moreover, theproject
had to beexecuted at the least possible expenseand 1must
confess that this seemedimpossible-to-me; My positionwas
particulariy critical; and'the reflexonthat I was plunged in
was not conducive to giving me encouragement, The
followingMemorndum, which accompanied IJ 1Ydrawings,
will serve as an ntroduction to my work and will give
sufficient clarification to pronounce judgment on this
the menwho hase made their ageillustrious,
The masterpieces of these great men evoke a desire to
follow in their footsteps and inevitably give rise to lofty
thoughts: one experiencesthen those nobletransports, that
sublime mpetus that seemto draw forth soul frombody:
onebelievesoneself inspired by the shades of thesefamous
I was deeply irnpressed by Raphael's sublimedesign for
theSchool of Athens and1havetriedtoexecuteit; doubtless
I owewhat success 1have had to this idea.
Beforegoing into further detail on this project, I think 1
should discuss the difficulties that 1encountered and the
obstacles I had to overcome to satisfy thedemands of those
This type ofbuilding, more than any other, calls for the
Poetry of architecture. Iti8 this interesting Poetry that I
haveespecally triedtoincorporate inthis work, Once1had
decided to characterize the resting place of death with a
cetnetery entrance, anideacarnelomethat \Vasasnewasit
was bold; it was to give~lllll.ionot:.buti~(l ..ar_ _ c.h~.
1will outlinefor theReader thesequenceofmy ideas, for
the description of my difficulties will perhaps spare those
who followmeinan artistic career.
Whilereflecting on themeans at my disposal for putting
myideas into practice,I realized that ~shollld uS~_ O_ lJ lyJ ()w,
,..u~~_ lines(ifI can put it thus). 1sald to myself,that the
basis ofarcfitecture is atQtal!ybare, unadorned \Val!ndit
-~-~~'-"-''''.,'.'.-.~.''"'' .....,',','" - , "'" _ ' ",'- '-_ "",.,'"",'''''' .. ".,_ "-'-_ "''''''_ ---'-''~"-'" ..... _ --,,,_ .-"_ ,-.,-~
Templeofdeath! Thesightofyou chillsour hearts. Artist,
flee the light of the Heavens! Descend onto the tombs to
sketch your ideas in the pale dying Light of theSepulchral
Itis 6bvious that the goal one sets oneself when erecting
this.kind of_ Monu~Ws_ th_ e~ReIP_ _ !ltIJ lJ _ Q~
those to wj],Qm:irfsotietlicated; - ,
- - - Tne- seMonuI11ents ~ho1l1(;L.thet:efQrt!Q~_ deigned to \Y 11h ~ raiages_ oLtim.- - , '.- ..- - -..~,~
The Egyptians have left us sorne celebrated examples.
Their Pyramids arettuly ch(racteristicinthat they COJ :ljure
up the' ilifarcholy ill1_ ~geoL.arid mountains and
11lffiutabilicy:"- - ' " .....
Funerary Monuments or Cenotaphs
If the Peristyle of'the Louvre andtheHotel des Invalides
havebrought honour to the agethat sawthembuilt and to
themonarch responsible for their Construction, howgreatly
would this buildingdevoted to the arts and sciences honour
those who cornmssiond it! For it can be argued that
perhaps thespectacleofthe most beautiful Monunents does
not have such animposing, extraordinary or novel effectas
the effect the Courtyard of the Library will have whenit is
vaulted, Moreover, if we consider the small cost that the
execution of this Project would ental (since it comprises
only anewrooffor theLibrary) andtheenormous difference
in the cost of the monuments wehavejust mentioned, it is
evident fromthis consideration that this Project combines
all sorts of advantages.
, One should not assume thatthe author of this Project in-
tended to speak ofthetechnique hewill usefor thedecora-
ton f this monument when he wasdescrbing thesublime
impression that will bemade by this place.
Hecan assureyouthat this will betheresult ofits immen-
sity, Thesuccess hedares tohopefor will bedueto hisgood
fortune in having dscovered how to utilize the existing
buildings, and in knowng how to take advantage of
prernises t- hatit.was thought would have to be abandoned
because it was assumed that it would not bepossibleto in-
corporate there all that isnecessary for aLibrary; fnally, in
having achieved with twelve or ffteen hundred thousand
Iivres what would have required on another site ffteen to
eighteen million. .
Sorne peopleseemto want the Vaulting which was in-
tended to beTimber to be executed instonework, Nothing
could be simpler, By placing several retaining walls inthe
surrounding buldings abuttress of morethan 36feetwould
be forrned, with a resistance that would support con-
siderably larger vaulting.
N.B. Theextensionof theLibraryis becorningindispensable
for it houses nearly three hundred thousand volumes, not
counting the rnanuscrpts for whch there is no room but
whichitis thought importantto classify sinceeight members
of the Academy of BellesLettres have been nominated to
examinetheprecious collectionofthese manuscripts, andto
make alist ofthem \Vhich\Viii bepublished asasequence of
the MemOtandaofthis Academy.
, The defects of the Library ate: (1) that it has insuffcient
space to house the books; (2) it has the disadvantage of
Galleries running in all directions which, as stated aboye,
makes the service slow and the surveillance tiresome. We
shall see whether my Project remedies these inconveniences.
My plan is totransform thecourtyard, which is 300feet
long by 90 wide, into a vast Baslica lit fromaboye, which
wouldhousenot only our literary heritage, but alsowhat we
havereason toexpect intimestoCome.Tobeconvincedthat
this Basilicaoffersfuelargest and most striking exampleof
al! that exists, it is only necessary to glance at the site1am
using, and to imagine the vaulting placed on the top of'the
existingwalls. A cursory examination ofthe plans will reveal
an arrangement that .issimpler, nobler and more imrnense
than one could have hoped for. All the existing buildings,
with no changes, would serve as repositories for the
manuscripts, the print room and the Medals, Geography
would beinreach ofthe placewherethemagnificent globes
are housed, By separating these various repositories, the
confusin which would ensue f unrelated objects were
rnixedthere, would beavoided,
By studying my subject indepth 1was attemptng, as it
was my duty, to fulfil the main object to which the monu-
ment inquestion is devoted.
I therefore wanted our lterary heritageto bepresented in
the finest possible building. That is why 1 decided that
nothing could be vaster, more noble, more extraordinary,
and make a more magnificent impression than a vast
amphitheatre of books. Let us imagine in this vast
amphitheatre attendants placed in different rows in such a
way they can pass the books fromhand to hand, You will
agreethat theservice will bealmost as rapid as the spoken
word andinaddition therewill beno fear ofthe dangers that
can result fromladders,
This superb amphitheatre 1Scrowned with an order of
architecture so conceived that far fromdistracting attention
from the spectac1e of the books, it would offer only that
decoration necessary to giveyet morebrillianceandnobility
to this beautful place. This Basilica has at either end two
types of Triumphal Arch, under which there could betwo
allegorical statues. Itwould doubtless beappropriate that
oneofthe t\Voshould beastatue of Minerva.
rnadeaboye: these monuments must havelow, sunken lines
and, although thewholemust besatisfying to-theonlooker,
hemust realizethat apart is concealed intheearth.
~Qt-ge--int~t '. . .... re. ard to {hecone-shaped
Cenotaph. Its conception isbased ontl].es_e sameprlllcl~S_I
"ita:vejtrsniSCss'ea:l ,wouldthus befepeating mysel.. is
for the Public tojudge thedecoration of the Cenotaphs,
Mymindwas still preoccupied withthis typeof architec-
ture and nowthat 1had attempted to give a description of
sunken architecture, a newidea cameto me, which was to
definethearchitecture of shadows.
Everyone knows the effect of volumes placed.againstthe
light: the result, as weknow, isthat theshadows reproduce
thesevolumes, Weowethebirth of theartof painting tothis
phenomenon, Love, it is said, inspired the beautiful
Dibutades.s? As for me, I OWemy inspiration to rnyIovefor
my profession.
The common man will not be interested in Iooking at
the natural phenomena he sees all the time and which no
longer arouse hiscuriosity sincethey nolonger havetheat-
traction of novelty. This is not true of the artist who is
always making discoveries and spends bis J ifeobserving
1was in the country, on the edge of a wood in the
moonlight, My shadow produced by thelightcaught my eye
(it was certainly nothing newto me).68Because ofmy par-
ticular mood, the image seemed to me of an extreme
melancholy. The shadows of thetrees etched onthegraiind
made arnost profound .impressionon me:-My magination
exaggerated thescene, and thus 1hada.glimpseof al!that is
most sombre in nature. What did 1seethere? The mass of
objects stood out in blaek against the extreme wanness of
thelight, Nature offeredtselfto mygazeinmourning, 1was
struck by thesensations 1wasexperiencingand immediately
began to wonder how to apply this, especially to architec-
ture, 1tried to fnda composition made up of the effectof
shadows, To achieve this, 1imagined the light (asI had
observeditinnature) givingback to meall that my imagina-
tion could think of. That was how 1proceeded when 1was
seekingto discover this newtype of archtecture,"
Perhaps 1am mistaken but it seemsto me that wecan
expect from this technique aIl that will be most effectivein
givinga . chal'acter to funerar . monum.e!!!s.1
cannot conceiveof anything moremelancholy tan a~
ment onsisting of ace, bare andunadorned, made
of alight-absorbent m~al,_ah ~ stripp o detail,
it[a~ .. aplay of shaoowr,outlr ..
sti~adews. ,
"lW, no gloomier images exist and if wemakeabstraction
of all the beauty of art, it would be. impossible not to ap-
preciate in such a construction the mournful elfect of the
The homage that itpleases us to pay great men has its
source inthe sensations inspired in us by the highplane on
whichweplacethem. Weliketofindinoneofour peersthat
eminent degree of perfection that deifies, so to speak, our
own nature inour own eyes. This pleasure has all the'more
attraction for usinthat our own self-esteemtries invain to
bring us closer to it; at least it flatters usby concealing the
immense distanceinvolved.
seemed tomethat if1was to create sunken architecture 1
had toensurethat theconstruction wassatisfyingasawhole
at thesametimeandmaketheonlooker realizethat apart of
. oncealed undergroun~~
Itwas ony e ectng on such general concepts that
seemed to offer me the means of carrying out my project
that 1took up my peneil. But tis alongtrail frornthecon-
ception of aprojeet toitsimplementation. Thereisnodoubt
that putting one's ideas into practice is often what is most
If the Reader will reflect on the difficultiesinvolved in a
compostion which is partly buried and which must give
satisfaction when only~rt ~ ground isvisible: if]1e
wiIl further reflectffiiiTforthiIProject ;ve~iireYesfflecfTQa-
bar~>J J nadQ.neOwlr;-id-i(flnilly; hewiIl reflect thaYihs
t-ypeof building is without precedent, he' will realize that
however good his ideas for the project may appear to the
Author, hehas taken only thefirst steptowards thefinished
product, andit isnot always easy toproceed promptly toits
implementation. 1must confess that I sketched for a long
timebefore I was more or less satisfied.
Perhaps those not versed in the arts will be astonished
that aconstruction they considered so simplecould cost its
author so much effort. Would they liketo know why? Itis
precisely because this construction is simple.
The general plan of the Cenotaphs 1wishto discuss here
sa surrounding waIlwith themainmonument inthecentre.
The surrounding waIl is formed by charnel houses, among
whichthechapels destinedfor thelast ritesof'thedead could
be situated. For the sake of perfect symmetry and to
preservetheanalogy oftype andstylethroughout thewhole,
1decidedtogivethecharnel houses the.samevolumeasthe
Entrance Gate, nonethe Iess true that thedecorationof
thechapels inno way resembles the entrance gate and that
thisgatehas itsowncharacter, asdoes thedecoration ofthe
Sincethe Cenotaph is the principal monument it stands
aloneinthe centre of theprecincts inthe antique style.
1have assumed that themonument wherethpyramid is
formed by a quadrilateraI has been erected in honour of a
Hero who has saved his Country by winning an important
battle, duringwhichhehas met hisdeath. Theglorious death
of theMarchal deTurenne suggestedthistome.6S 1feltthat
inthis project I should attempt tocombinethepalms of vic-
tory withcypresstrees. That iswhyI haveplaed afunerary
triumphal arch beforetheentrance totheCenotaph.66Thu.s,
1consider that by means ofthese marks ofhonour bestowed
on the Triumphant, 1have demonstrated the glory of the
hero; 1also consider that 1haveby this very type ofmonu-
ment demonstrated thegrief of theFatherland andthedesire
to perpetuate the Memory of thehero. Sincesuch amonu-
ment should rnake amelancholy impression, 1haveavoided-
any opulence in the architecture. I did not ,evenperrnit
myself to divide Up the mass and 1thus preserved its
characte.r of immutability. 1have given the Pyramid the
proportioris of an equilateral triangle because it is perfect
regularity that gives aform its beauty.
Vaulting forms the crown, of all the interiors of
monuments and always has itsbase aboyethearchitectural
order. aut here 1decided to make it rise up from ground
level. This technique is a result of the observations 1have
that ispart ofcivil architecture, andthat aJ oneshouldarouse
inusthe sensations that Weshouldexperienceatthe sightof
fueEntrance lo aCity, thegateofa fortifiedcity, anarsenal,
a Fort, etc., etc. These monumehts each havetheir own in-
I have already explained what part of Arcbitecture
beJ ongsro scienceaIldwhat pardo artoInthestiict meaning
o the word, ..Military architedure is concerned with for-
tifications for the purposes of defence. Everything. beyond
Military Architecture
..cumstances outside his control, to remain in the place
assigned to him and which, since it occupies the centre,
keeps himat a sufficient distance to contribute to the illu-
sion, Hedelightsinit,without beingabletodesti'Qytheeffect
by wanting to Cometoo closeinorder to satisfy bis empty
curiosity. He stands alone and his eyes can behold nothing
but theimmensity of'thesky, Thetomb isthe only material
The lightng of this monument, which should resemble
that on aclear night, isprovided by theplanets andthestars
that decorate the vault of the sky. The arrangement of the
planets corresponds to nature, These planets are in the
.shape of and resemble funnel-like openings which
transpierce the vaultingand once inside assume their'form,
Thedaylight outside filtersthrough theseapertures into the
-gloomof theinterior and outlines all theobjects inthevault
withbright, sparkling light. This formoflighting themonu-
ment is a perfect reproduction and fue effect of the stars
couldnot bemore brilliant,
Itis easy to imagine the natural effect that would result
fromfuepossibility of'ncreasing or decreasing thedaylight
insidethemonument according tothenumber o stars, 1t 1S
alsoeasy toimaginehowthesombrelightthat wouldprevail
- in this place would favour theillusion.
The effect of this magnificent composition is, as wecan
see, produced by nature-.Qne could not arrive at the same
result withthe usu_al-tecIrii'ques of art. It wouldbe impossi-
bleto depict in:paintngtheazure of aclear night skywith
nocloud, its colour scrcely distinguishable for itlacks any
nuance, any graduaton, thebrilliant light of the stars stan-
ding out garishly, brilliantly fromits darkened tOne.
In order to obtain the natural tone and effect which are
possibleinthis monment it wasnecessary lo haverecourse
to all the magic of art and to paint with nature, l.e. to put
nature to work; and I can say that thisdiscovery belongsto
me. Someonewill object that hehas Seenmoreor lesssimilar
tbings, wiUgiveexamplesofplaces litby means o apertures.
Iknow aUaboutlhat, as Weall do. But what wasthe elfectin
these plac~s? ltis not, in fact, the meaI1Swhich 1amcon-
testing but the result. And if it is assumed that 1am not
suggesting anytbing new, whichbelongs to mealone, then 1
wOlildobserve that apples fel!before Newton and 1would
ask what. was the result. of it before tbis divineintelligence
.? Doubtless 1cOliJ dalso addthat the palette of adauber
contains the same coloues as those used by a gifted artist
and isn't theinkthat anidiot writes withthesameasthe nk
used by aman of genius, etc., etc., etc.
r ~Sublimemind! Prodigious and profound genius! Divine
being! Newton! Deign to accept the homage of myfeeble
talents! Ah! lf1date tomakeitpblic, itisbecause1amper-
, suaded that I have surpassed myself inthe project which 1
. shall discuss.
- .O Newton! With the range o your intelligence and the
sublime nature of your Genius, you have defnedthe shape
o the earth; I have conceived the idea o' enveloping you
with your discovery. That is as itwerelo envelop you in
your own self. How can1findoutsdeyou anything worthy
of you? Itwasthese ideas that made mewant to make the
sepulchre in the shape of the earth, In Imitation of the an-
cients and topay homage to you I have surrounded it with
owers andcypress trees.
The conception of the nterior-of'this tomb isinthesame
spirit, By usng your divine system, Newton, to create the
sepulchral lamp that lights thy tornb, it seems that 1have
mademyself sublime. Itisonlydecoration 1feltLshould use.
1would have felt 1was oommitting.sacrilege ir 1had used
any other decoraton for this monument,
When 1had completed this project, 1must confess that 1
experienced acertan dissatisfaction that made mewant to
include insdethe tomb ideas that 1thought it wouldbeim-
possibleto include, because 1could scarcely glimpsehowit
could be possible. We shall see what study and the
perseverance of aman who lovesbisprofession can do.
I turned over in my imagination all the magnificenceof
nature, 1groaned at not being abletoreproduce it. 1wanted
to giveNewton that immortal resting place, the Heavens.
If you havethedrawing infront of you, youwll seewhat
could have been considered impossible. You will see a
~- mOnument inwbichfueonlooker findshimself asfby magic
f floatinginthe.air, borne inthewake of imagesintheimmen-
!_Sityof space. Smcetheeffectofthis extraordinary imagecan
be only imperfectly represented by the drawing which can
giveonly a notion of shape, 1wiUattempt to supplement it
Theformof theinterior of tbis monument Is, as you can
see, that of avast sphere. Thecentreof gravity isreached by
anopening inthebase onwbichtheTomb isplaced.The un"
ique advantage of this formis that fromwhichever sidewe
look at it (as in nature) we seeohly a continuous surface
whichhasneither beginningnor endandthemoreweloo,kat
it, the larger it appears. This formhas never been utlized
and it is the ohly one appropriate to this monument, for lts
curveenSUresthatthe onlooker cannot approach Whatheis
looking at; heis forced as if by one hundred different cir-
.To Newton"
architect can hopefor success. Itisthe art ofbringing reality
tolifethat will,inmyopinion, ensurethat hesucceeds. What
1was afraid of was that the picturesque methods 1used
wouldgvemy archtecture what iscalledaTheatrical quali-
ty far from the purity it requires and without which all
architecture has an intolerable vice, but onewhich 1tftink 1
havemanaged to avoid,"! . o"
Balls under Trophies made of the arms of Giant warriors,
The.arch, or rather the.archivolts, aremade of gunbarreis.
The Fort consists of a round tower flanked by square
Towers s'et'diagonally within the main Tower. The gaps
betweenthesetowers arefilledwithstacks of cannon balIsso
that they areblocked. Thegateprotectng themisindicated
by the shieldof Achilles, Through these enormous piles of
war munitions, 1have sought both to givecharacter to this
monurnent and at thesarnetimeto create art,"
My principie is that it is by depicting reality that an
My various city gates consist of wallsflanked byTowers,
Thebasement of oneof themismadeof suppliesofCannon
Gates of FortifiedCties
that such multiple defences not only make the.Ctyappear
unassailable, but also gvevariety to my subject.
Theinterior wallsofthe City aredecorateddifferently and
leadoneto supposethepresence of adoublewall. 1consider '
elude a drawing has walls which appear indestructible. On
the stylobate which decorates these walls, 1have placed a
lineof warriors who appear to beinvincible. 1intended the
presence of these warriors to recall the heroism of the
courage of the Lacedaemonians who, .atthe sight of a city
protected by walls, asked who werethesemenwho wereso
faint-hearted that they needed such defences, 1intended
these armed warriors on the walls of the city as a symbol
that would say to those looking at them: these walls are
nothing, but beware of thecourage of theinhabitants,
Theengineerswhohavebuilt cityentrances weresatisfied
with walls thck enough to protect theinhabitants fromar-
tillery. In so doing they had accomplished their task; but
they didnot giveany impression ofstrength, as1think they
should have done, eventhough this strictly belongs to civil
1thought that to givesuch an impression of strength, it
would be appropriate to make a show of everything that
wouldhelpproclaimthebest possibledefences, andtoincor-
porateitinthe decoration. The entrance gateof which1in-
City Entrance
totheother monuments 1havejust listed, whchareincluded
under thevagueheading of military architecture, theart side
has always been neglected. Why? Because necessity, the
mother of hard work, has not forced man to turn his atten-
tion to it. And moreover-s-I repeat-v-advances in science
followonefromanother and can be'C'OImunicatedfor dis-
coveriescan beverifed,whereas thebeauty of art cannot be
proved asrnathematical truths can, andconsequently beau-
tx will always berarebecause not everyonehasthe giftof in-
terpreting nature.
dividual character, and they should make different im-
pressions on U So which can only bemade by recourse to the
Poetry of art. This comes withinthescopeof civil architec-
ture; and that iswhat 1haveundertaken to deal withinpar-
ticular in the type of architecture we are discussing here.
Besides, 1findhereanewdemonstration of thereasons why
the technical sideof architecture has made more progress
than that which constitutes art properly speaking."
Ever sinceman has waged war, hehas beenforced to use
every means for his common defence; thus the art of for-
tificationhas.beencarried to anadvancedlevel, Withregard
educated members of the nation for just onemonument (as
can be judged by the.memorandum of the Academy of
Sciences onthe-subject of hospitals),"? then theplanning of
an Empire and all the elements of something so immense
would doubtIess necessitate theaccumulation of all human
Itseemsto methatarchitecture CanbecalledtheMinerva
of the finearts. Its basic principIes, as 1haveshown, derive
fromarder, the symbol of wsdom. Itis through arder that~
the finearts and especially painting and sculpture, become
beautiful and acqure brilliance. It is in atemple, itisinthe
interior vaulting of a Dome that archtecture has prepared
for painting, that les thernost noble, themost brilliant, 'the
greatest ofall tasks. Isn't this also truewithregard to sculp-
ture? Isn't atemplearranged soastobringout all thebeauty
of sculpture by means of the figures and bas-reliefs which
decorate it? And itis certain that in isolation these arts
would not beseenin such afavourable light.
The finearts acquire brlliance whenthey are combined
and aboye all (1 repeat it) by what they borrow from
Is theeffectof music and Poetry not enhanced by theiIIu-
sionof the Theatre which uhquestionably givessuch works
Itfollows frOrri these remarks that to consider architec-
ture isto acertain extent to consider the finearts.
Architecture Isnot Iiketheother arts. Thelatter conoern
aboye all their creators. The former, on the contrary, con--
cerns the Government and the Nation. Itis agreat misfor-
tunewhenanenormously -expensivemonumentproves tobe
sornekindefblot ontheAgethat sawit built and ablot that
isall themore disastrous toitsAgebecauseitwill behanded
down to posterity.
The Invalides, the Peristyle of the Louvre, the Porte St.
The fine arts delight us agreeably. Itis evident that
architecture adds function topleasure. Architecture ranges
fromacountry cabintothegeneral planfor nEmpire, I will
not attempt todescribetheplanningfor suchavast area; not
only because I do not have the strength but also because
such an area.depends inevitably on natural phenomena.
____ I will merely cast a rapid glancein a general way at the
specifc methods that belong to this great art and by means
of whchit can contribute andaddtotheglory andprosperi-
ty of agreat state.
I amassuming alargepopulation which isabout to settle
in sorne Country; its most important task wiU beto purge
the land it is going to inhabit of all mlignant inuences
and so preservethe Iifeof each individual.
The second task will beto ensure plenty by setting aside
all arable land. Then onewould proceed to thefounding of
cities and one would use every means to make them
salubrious. The location of the Capital, the commereial
cites and the other towns would be in keeping with their
function and they would be distributed insuch a way that
they can, through their respective connexions, serve and
help each other."
AlI the ports, canals and communications would be es-
tablished to facilitate business. AH human necessities,
everythingto keep peaceintheStatebyensuringiisdefence,
and, inthelast analysis, everything to ensure theamenities
that make lifepleasant, should emanate fromthis plan.
1seethis planas resembling thetree of knowledge. Prom
acentral point al!theb~nignbranc'heswouldstretch out into
aHparts of theEmpire.
This expos, doubtless too brief, demonstrates that this
great art shouldoccupy thefaculties ofthe heart of himwho
professes itrather than those of rusmind.
If the Government found it necessary to consult the
Reflections on Architecture n
prmry concepts which weretornake apassage across the
water withboats, In addition, I think that I havecarried out
the engineer's idea of creating what could becalled a fat
bridge which isdecorated in a manner that, faf'from being
repugnant to our senses, is extremely agreeable; and in
addition 1haveincorporated thearms of'the city of'Paris in
themost ingenious rnanner,
The simplicity of this design is one of the aspects that I
find most admirable. I have dealt very briefly withmilitary
architecture because all the art I have applied to it derives
fromthedecoraton and soitisobvious that to appreciate it,
it is necessary to seeit. This isthe rnanreason that. 1have
.refrained fromdescribing heretwo Maritime City Entrance
Gates and.aTriurnphal Arch that formpart of my work."
The civil engineers incharge of this sideof architecture
haveperformed miracles withregard tothetechnical aspect,
but theartistic sidehas completely escaped them. Ingeneral,
the decoration of ther bridges has no beauty whatsoever.
On the orders ofthe Minister ofFinance, 1have worked
onimproving thedecoration of thebridgear thePlaceLouis
XV.74 1 made it a rule that 1 would strictly follow the
engineer's plans for 1respect hiscornpetence. In spiteofthe
Constraints and the obstacles resulting from such a condi-
tion, which inevitably curbs genius and puts a rein on it
rnakingall ts effortsvain," 1think that inthisproject 1have
rnade adistincton between what belongs to art andwhat to
1conceivedthedecoraton of this bridgeby goingback to
lack of hopehas ledthemtoneglect alI detailed.studyoftheir
art; and that the majority of them confine themselves to
looking after their wealth and should therefore be con-
sidered as giftedmen rather than as artists, If they couldbe
motivated by hope, if they could pe!]~E~ t_hemselvesthat
by making an effort they would gin the advantage of
revealing their talents, 1liketo think that their excitement
would be aroused by such a powerful interest and that
archtecture would soon attain the perfection of the other
arts. Itis this belief that has given me the courage to set
down themeans of encouragement 1have conceived.
1think 1can assert that in France more buildings than
necessary are built to provide [workl for those engaged in
architecture; and that if these structures were not com-
missionedindiscriminately aman of merit wouldbejustified
inhaving the highest hopes.
1consider that it should be possible to proceed in the
followingmanner to put architects on their mettIeand thus
succeedinrecognizing anddistinguishing thetalents of each
oneof them,
The academy of architecture, likethe academy of Paint-
ing, would ask fromthose it deems worthy to beassociated
with it, a project that would reveal the talents of the
proposed member and contribute to the heritage of the
academy. In order to giveadded interest to these projects,
. the academy I:lSa body would draw up a master plan for
Paris. This plan would include all the projects that would
add to thegood functioning and beauty of all:lrgecity. The"
sites considered suitable for buildings would be indiCated.
Programmes would be drawn up which the proposed
members wouIdberequired to follow. Thelatter wouldalso
be required to j.nclude, where applicable, memorandl:l with
their designs. Thus theacademY wouldexciterivalry among
thecandidates, who wouldbe.intent onoutdoing their rivals.
These designs wQuld be irrefutable evidence of the best
efforts the candidates could produce. By comparing these
designs, it would bepossibleto.differentiateandjudge tbeir
various talents; each one would find his own place and
wOlJ ldoccupy therank hediscovered, The academy ",ould
then present themost interesting designs.totheGovernment
and they would constitute models that could be consulted.
The. Public would be drawn to the academy by curiosity
andwouldfindthere a1lpossiblesubjects for comparison. It
wouldthus acquire sorneknowledgeof architecture without,
so to speak, studying it in depth. And architecture, thus
revel:lled,would beof interest to a11.81
The academy of architecture in al! the large cities of
France would' be in corresponden.ce with the provincial
Architects. They wouldberequiredto sendtoitfrom timeto
time sorneobservations ontheir profession. Why shou]dn't
the academy insst that its correspondents follow its
example? Thus one \Vouldfind in the aCl:ldemiesof all the
largecities, (iS well asintheParis Academy, designsfor im-
.provingthefunctioning andbeauty ofthese various places.M2
Civil engineers from aHover France would make. amap
shQwingplans for rQads, canals, bridges and other projects
that belongtotheir sideof I:lrchitecture.Whenever amember
of this body became. a candidate for admission to the
academy, he would submit a project in this' field t() be
accepted. The grea B10ndelwas amilitary engineer andthe
Dauphin's mathematics teacher.
ltwouldbedesirableto havesevera] suchmernbers ofthe
Denis etc., etc.-all these monuments will continue to add
glory to the agethat sawthembuilt, And it iscertain that if
this century, whichisknown astheCentury of'thefinearts,
had been merely the time of their decadence, the famous
vaulting of theInvalides, which daily resounds withcres of
admiration, would today echo only sao cadences,
1will not repeat herewhat somany authors havewrtten
about themonuments of Greece. No oneisunaware that the
precious remains of antiquity areworthy of our admiration
or of how much we respect them; of how, in short, they
perpetuate the glory of that Naton.
1shall nowconsider architecture, not asanartist but as a
Part of our education is to study languages, to cultivate
letters, drawng, painting, to learn mathematics, to devore
ourselves to the theoretical scences, in short to acquire
many talents, By what stroke of fateis themost useful art,
ano consequently the one most likely to interest us, corn-
pletely neglected? 1amfar fromclaimingthat itshouldtake
precedence over all the others, Bu! is it conceivable that
apart fromthosewho practise architecture noene pays any
attention to it? 1myself firmly believethat if wedo n01en-
surethat eitizenswho may riseto prominent positions-: have
sorne knowledge of this art, then it is a vice of our
educational system. How can these citizens be expected to
pick out theonly man of merit worthy of confidence when
they findthemselves inthesituation wherethey will perhaps
have to cOmmissionor supervise the construction of sorne
This is a go.dmoment to givean.exampleby noting the
precautions that weretaken when there was sornequestion
()fbuildingthefa9adeofthe Louvre. NotonIywere themost
gifted artists in France put to work but Bernini, who was
famous inthewholeof Europe, was summoned fromItaly.
Therewasthe greatest rivalry between this giftedartist and
our nationa! artists. AII thevadous designswerestudiedand
discussed for a long time. Those concerned with the arts
werelistened to; and it was..only after themQst profound
reflexion, and after Bernini had been thanked and
magnificently rewarded,80 that the oesigns attributed to
Perrault, who haddefeated all hisrivals, wereimplemented.
Itisevident that this competition put everyoneonhismettle
andthere weremany bases for comparison without which
no truejudgment would have beenpossible. Thi.smade the
whole of Europe realize that France possessed the mosi
lfit wereonIy aquestion of beauty 1wouldnot insist that
men who may prominent positions should concern
themselves with architecture. But when oue cousiders that
sometimes a saviug of 10, 12or 15millionsdepeuds OU the
choice of au honest, competent man and when, moreover,
one considers that this mau (notwithstandiug this saving)
canalone fulfil all the functional goals that amediocre man
isiucapable of grasping, wearewithout doubt forced to ad-
mit that L tave sorne justificatiori for asking that the
knowledge of such an important art should not be so
1haveaJ readyexplainedabove why uptQnowprogress in
architecture has lagged. It isanevil of which1hayeseenthe
unfortunate effectsand1think 1havearemedy tQprQPose,1
have revealed that architects arediscouraged because they
haveno hope of being ableto developtheir talents, that the
t l l
In general, those who have written about this subject
show no breadth ofvision: they confinethemselves to put-
tingforward afewexampTesthey havetakenfrom antiquity.
They have never-prbved that man can make no progress in
art except through the study of nature; that itis through
nature that wecan grasp thePoetry of'architecture; that this
is what constitutes art; and that the only way of arousing a
variety of sensations within us is by giving monuments an
appropriate character. Writers do not convey any impres-
sion of the great images that can be created by assembling
aIl tbis scattered beauty; they havenever made usCee!that
thegreatest task of an archtect isto utilzeall this; andthat
by usingall the means that nature puts at our disposal, we
can achevethe apotheosis of arto
We should begrateful to an Artist who writes about his
art; but thsisnot enough. Hedevelopshistalent andproves
it inwhat hebuilds, for what isexpectedofan architect isnot
to wrtewell but to build well.
In my project for a Metropolis, which is the Epic of
architecture, 1have attempted to develop and combine al!
that gives Poetry to this artoMy newphilosophical concepts
have enabled me to make use of nature by introducing
daylght into the Temple; for nowthat 1cold control it, it
Wascapable ofbrilliant, mysterious, soft andsornbreeffects:
in short, it could arouse inus sensation:ssimilar tothose of
Our religious ceremonies and which are necessary to the
worship of theSupreme Being.
1planned ny funerary mOnuments toinspire ahorror of
death and thus to bring man back to morality.
In Newton's Cenotaph I attempted lo create thegreatest
'of a11effects,that ofimmensity; for thats what givesus10fty
thoughts as We contemplate the Cteatot and gives us
celestial sensations; finally, what 1have calledthe architec-
tute of shadows is my own discovery an:doue which 1
bequeath to those who followmein an artistic Career.
Circumstances govern man's every enterprise. When 1
was young, ishared the opinions ofthe general public; 1ad-
miredthe fcade of thePerstyleof theLouvre andthought
that this design consisted of all that was most beautful in
architecture, 1wasindignant whenI readintheworks ofhim
who passes as lts architect that he was attempting to
degrade theprofession whichhonourd himandthat hecon-
sidered it fantastic artoThe fear of devoting my lifeto the
study of avisionary art which would leadmefromerror to
error mademedecideto ascertain whether, asPrault maine
tained, architecture did not derive from natur,e; and if, aCe
cording to rusterlllinology, itwasndeedfantastic art.
I feh myself oblgedtorefute hisassettion and1began a
detailed exalllination of what could be,meant by fantastic
artoWhen 1had completedths, 1wanted to gomoredeeply
into thequestion and began my research nto the essenceof
volunes whch made meaware oftheir properties and then
oftheir harmony and their analogy withour Ownsystem.
These discoveries enabled meto prove that architecture
derives fromvolumes and that since aIl its effectshavethis
same source, it inevitably derives fromNature.
1 studied Perault's assertion in which he compares
archtectural principies withthose onwhich rnusicisbased.
1uncovered his error and 1hav~proved that there is no
analogy between thesetwo art forms andthat consequently
the principles on whch they are based must be totally
1have established amethod for discerningthebasic prin-
cipiesof !in:artand finalIy1haveprovedthatin architecture
thesederivefrornKe_gularity. '
By observing nature 1broadened my conception of my
profession and by applying what 1had observed and my
philosophy, 1have suggested techniques that no one had
ever grasped before. The medt of this work liesinthe fact
that 1have seenfurther than my short-sightedpredecessors.
Recapitulation '
the voce of the academy would be heard. And who could
doubt that justice will be done to artists who have given
proofof thegreatest talent, for themembers of theacademy
will have before them all the public dissertations and
moreover, for the sake of the reputaton of the profession,
will he concerned with satisfying the confdence of the
Government and not yieldto any outside inuence,
1shouldIiketo express herethedelightful sen~tions that
1experienced each time that 1heard the academy reply to
the enqures addressed to it. Thefacts 1amdiscussing here
areto befound initsrecords whichshowthatonseveral oc-
casions whenmembers of theacademy werecompeting with
their students, thelatter weregiven thevoteofthe academy
whenthey deserved it. But fthis wiseconduct did not sur-
prise me, 1certainly consdered it remarkable that such
justice could be meted out without any member of the
academy daring totake into consideraton anything but the
candidates'. designs.
acaderny so that their projects would offer the most Com-
plete rnuseum of all that comes within the field of
By enurnerating therneans of making the Academy and
itsrnembers useful tothe State,I havedoubtless madeit ob-
vious how Important it is for theGovei'nment to give as
much encouragement as possible to this society of Artists.
Thisis why it seemsto methat whenever thereisany ques-
tion of building apublic monument, thereshould beacom-
petitionwhich will forcecomparisons andistheonly way to
ensure success. And inorder to prove that all decisions are
unbiased and impartial, it would, 1think, be necessary to
exhibit the candidates' designs publicIy.
Themost sutableplace for theexhibitions would seemto
metobetheprernises of theAcademy of archiiecture." The
result of these exhibitions would bereasoned censure from
sorne; from nthers bitter criticism and the venom of
anonymous satire; but clashes of opinin reveal thetruth,
After all thesepublic debates thernoment wouldcomewhen
On page 197ofthe second volumeoLBaron deRiebeck's
a.ccount of histravels inGermany, theauthor discusses the
writers of that country and makes the following obser-
vations on art ingeneral.86
It 8nature that gives us OUT first concept .of the Arts
which cannot {henbe.brought to.perfection by theory, but
only by paying attention to and searching for what is most
beautjful and striking innature. That iswhat makes original
artistS! Anditisbyinterpreting, feelingandcomparingthese
original works that imitators can acquire their traihng.
0000taste isnot acquiredthrough theoretical studies; andit
is generaHy a<;ceptedthat those who. expound the most
-The immediate impression made on usby thesight of an
architectural monument is the result of its general plan.
What wefeel consttutes its character; what 1can givinga
building character is the art of using in any design alI the
means appropriate and relevant to the subject; so th_i~t the
onlooker experiences only those feelings that the subject
should arouse, which are essentiaI to it and to which it is
The variety of nature is infinte and always different: it
follows that no creation of the fine arts should exactly
resemble another; and that every subject should be dealt
withinan appropriate manrier,
Few monuments have atrue character oftheir own and
few architects appear to have concerned themselves. wth
giving their architecture character; and yet this isthe ideal,
thePoetry orart, itsmost sublimeaspect, and theonewhich
makes it true art.
arrangement; wemust assume that what is ordered isplea-
sant for howcan wepresume to create order out ofwhat we
findrepulsive? And so, sincesymmetry iscomposed of what
is pleasant, and since order adds even further to OUT
pleasure, sincetheanalogy, theaccord, theharmony ofeach
element mus necessarily be assumed to emanate from an
impression of arder, it followsthat a symmetrical cornposi-
tionmust consist of all that does most to flatter our senses.
Uniforrnity, which the vulgar often confuse with
symmetry, derives fromsimilarity. The image it has topre-
sent offers us only a multitude of elements with the.same,
aspectoWhat makes this impression sterile and of littlein-
terest isitslack of'tbat quality that awakensour soul, 1mean
1had decided when 1was writing the main body of this
work torefer thereader tothefollowingnotes, but onfurther
reflexion1decided that perhaps irwuW bemore agreeable
for mmto read them n together and 10let himdecide for
himselfhow hewll apply them.
spring where all of us, however many weare, should draw
Symmetry is an impression of order ano overall
If men based their ideas on the study of nature, they
would be less likely to fall into all sorts of errors. Each one of
us has his own definition of what is beautiful and each one of
_ us believes that he is right: but reason is the fruit of study:
thus, before we announce our ideas, we should surely form
an opinion by questioning nature and confirming our views
with the proofs which derive from it? These proofs emanate
from all that does most 10.arouse our sensibility, so that
'---there can no Ionger be any doubt. Once this basis is es-
tablished, weshall beableto cometo an agreement. Allow
meto question nature with regard to that beauty that our
hearts recognize as all powerful.
Itseemstomethat thereexstsinwhat constitutes beauty,
inthe strict senseof the word, qualities that areso striking
and so clear that no one can refuse to aceept the evidence
andnot bemovedby them.
FOr example, 1believethat everY <mewill admit that an
irnpression of being alve is indubitably one of nature's
greatest gifts: it isawell-known sayingthat there1Sno dead
beauty: 1have never heard anyone say, How beautiful or-
ablind personl'" The greatest of all forms ofbeauty isthus
the quality of lfethat comes from an animated air, but
wheredoes theanimation come from? From-ihyes. They
arethemirror ofthe soul andconsequently oflfe. Itisinthe
eyesof theoneweadore that wefndher and happiness too!
11istheeyes that reveal the most beautiful.of all beauties.J
mean that of the sou!. .
Isn't freshness one of the main qualities. constituting
beauty? Does it not heraldthe beautiful dawn 6f eachday?
ISn't it nature's finishthat brings out in ayoung girl's com~
plexion the briI1ianceofthe lilyand the pink ofthe rose?
Doesn't firmness, the pleasing companion of freshness,
indicate goodhealth; doesn't it arouse thepleasant desireto
touch? Doesn't itpreserveabeautiful formwhichbadhealth
would cause to sag and givebeauty an air of listIessness?
Is not Regularity aguarantee ofbeautiful features, for if
they areirregular they arenot beautiful. Beautiful forms are
weUdefinedandtheir beauty derivesfromtheir full develop-
ment andj)erfect symmetrY.
If, as 1presume, these remarks are neitner conventional
nor arbitrary, 1tmnk 1wouldbefight insuggestingthat they
can establish thefoundation on whichto baseour concepts
of beauty.85
1will not bore you by continuing to describe my goals, 1
would advise those who intend te take up arehitecture to
study attentively what 1 have to say, to study my designs
scrupulously, to pender on them and on my writings, before
coming to any conclusin; then, to do as 1have done with
regard to the ancients, that is to respect their designs when
/ they are good, but not to follow them slavishly; but to
become rather the slave of nature which is an inexhaustible
Thebest reasoning inthefinearts wiIl nevet helpto form
Artists. Why not? Because reasoning can never help us
experiertce sensatons and because the art of expressing
these sertsations, which derives from our sensibility, is the
purpose of the finearts. Theway to study thefinearts isto
exercise one's sensibility; we must seek the meansof
developing it in ihe mOst beautiful human creations and
aboye aH irtthoseof rtature. At thesight of nature's sublime
vistas a sensitive man is transported and expt;tiencesthat_
magnificent eCstasy, that happy enthusiasm, thatis evidence
ofhis genius andcharacterizes iI; adivine gifi without which
acareer inthe finearts is impeded.
_ Thecteations of aman of genius arealways charactrized
by the way heapplies nature inhis Art.
In the finearts itls not always the greatest effort that
btings success. AHmenwho cultivatethearts admit il; they
will all confess Ihat their most fortunate creations are
generally those that caused them the least pain and cost
them least; in a word, those whIch, so to spak, were in-
spired. What should weunderstand by inspiration? ItlSto.
bemoved by such an excess of sertsibilityat the S1ghtoran
object, that all thefacultiesorour soul atedisturbed to such
art extent that wefeel it ls departIng fromour body.93
Inthis stateof excitement wefeel superior tbourselVes,an
exquisite sensation exalts us; a pOwerbeyond our control
dtives usandmakes our faculties divine, if 1may beaUowed
tb usesuchan expression.
Often inarchtecture thereissorneconfusin betweenthe
truemeaning of theword colossal andtheword giganticand -
what artists terrn grandose. They arevery different things,
A colossal monument shouldexciteour admiraton; tobe
convinced of this truth tis easy enough to say that lt isan
extraordinary monumento Its proportions should
overwhelmal1that surrounds it. Itshould illustrate agreat
concept and, in aword, beuniqueofts kind.
Thebest example1cangiveis Trajan's column inRome:
thisrnonument excitesour dmiratiorr;" tsproportions are
extraordinary, tsconcept astounding; the architecture, the
sculpture of thebas-reliefs, the choiceof'decoration, all are
admirable. Gigantic proportions far from enhancing the
effectof abuilding, subdueit.StoPeter's inReme proves my
point. this Baslica, as weknow, is thelargest that existsin
-Europeand yet insidetheTemple wedo not experienceany
sensation that correspondsto itssize."
Thisis not at all thesameimpression wehaveonentering
the Rotunda. There the astonished spectator always leaves
full of wonder."
The art of-greatness in architecture stems from arr in:
genious combination of the-seprate parts of the whole, 1
have developed this idea in the secton on Metropolises in
-_ which 1have tried to enumerate all the methods at thedis-
posal of architecture inthe Consti:uctionof aTemple.
The Egyptians had gnw,dioseideas: their pyramids are
rightly admited; J he"architectural ordet of their Temples
givesanimprs-Sonof greatness. nthestatueoftheir gods,
colossal art reaches itsapotheosis.92
monuments so adapted to it because of all the dfferent at-
tributons they gavethe power of their gods?
1have giveILapartial definitionof architectilre as theart
of creatirtg perspectives by thearrangement of volumes.
The effect of thesevolumes isthe result oftheir masses.
Ves! Its their masses that play on our senses; it isinthem
that we distinguish delicate, agteeable fOfms and heavy,
massiveforms; nobl, majestic, elegant and tenuous forroS.
Theart of givingcharacter to any project liesintheeffectof
the masses.
The real talent of an architect liesin incorpbrating inhis
workthe sublimeattraction ofPoetry. HoWisthat possihle?
Through the effect of the masses; chatacter derives from
them; and the result is that the onlooker expetiences only
those sensations that truly derivefromthesubject. itisevic
dent that themass ofa Templeto Venus would not beat aU
approptiate for aTempleto J upiter.88
1cannot refrain frommaking here artobservation onthe
architecture oftheGreeks. Werightlyadmiretheir Temples;
{hemagnificertt order of their architecture makes themthe
most beautiful examples ihat existoHowever; itgmst be ad-
mitted that the--6~KS do not appear lb have concerned
themselves Wtrfr giving their architecture any individual
character. Thesimilarity oftheir Templesisstr'iking;they all
have more_Orlessthe same formoHow could men bf such
genius as the Greeks neglect the Poetry of architecture in
By assigning its own individual size to eachobject, nature
has enabledus to exerciseour crtcal facultieson a1I that we
seeby means of athousand dfferentcomparsons; it isonly
theconstant sizeof each object that enables ustojudge dis-
tances, for what iscontained inacertain space enablesus to
judge what contains it also, Without these individual
assignations, how could we makejudgments or even com-
parsons? The laws of optics and the effectsofperspectve
would continually lead us into error, for objects grow
smaller inour eyes according totheir distance fromus. But
since we areaware of the sizeof natural objcts, this size
becomes aguidelineandenables ustojtrdgedistances inthe
light of their reducton. Itis a retrogressng scale that
enables us to measure everything,
In the Arts, oneshould rtever transgress our habit-ual es-
timation of objects, unless there is sorne overridng con-
sideration that makes it absolutely necessary.
Why present a figure larger than life? nis not to be
tolerated unless one wants to depict sorne extraordinary
being such as a giimt or pagan~style gods which would
justify such colossal figures.
In architecture, it is th~refore essential to respect out
habitual comparisons and to avoid colossal proportions
whichhave tlieeffed of making meassumelessnot more. 1t
ts-the art ofdiminishing the elfect.not ofenhartcing it.87
profound theories are 'those who have met with the least
success in their owrt work and in their critcism of what
others have done.
Theory is based on logical conclusions whch will always
(--be fase as long as the premises are false. But the sensations
aroused by perception __and a comparison of what is
beautiful, and what in fact constitutes Good Taste, can
rtever mislead usoWhat is certain is that this perception and
this sagacty are essentially nature's gft,
superior toall that hehas seenpreviouslythat hestandslost
in wonder at its splendour and magnicence,
If'we.imaginethat thissuperb galleryisnothing morethan
an intermediate room leading directly to the King's
apartments and to those of the Queen, then this vista
becomesevenmoregrandiose because of itslinkswiththese
new objects, and it will become the most grandiose, the
noblest and the most striking image of all that exists.
If on the contrary, we imagine an arrangement that
branches offinandirections andisnolonger connected with
the royal apartrnents, then the beauty of the gallery wiII
stand in isolation, .
Itis on thebasis of theseconditions that 1sought to plan
the general arrangement.
The. vestibule is the perfect precursor of the entrance: It
stands inthe centre of thefacade, From rightto leftaretwo
large staircases, leading to the King's and Queen's
apartments respectively.
After traversing the large number .of rooms that already
exist, Wearrive at the gallery and this magnificent place is
the central point from which the Public can see the
apartments oftheir Majesties, AHcan circulate easily inthe
whole first section of the Palace until the time when the
Monarch leaves his apartrnents and lets all rejoice in his
The .banqueting hall isstuated in the main body of the
buildingparallel to the.gaHery; and when the arcades adja-
cent to.this hall are open, the public inthe gallery havethe
advantage of being able to see their Majesties without
causing any obstruction,
Private entrances have been provided to the apartrnents.
ofthe King and Queen for important officialsand those on
At the other end of tbese apartments, it was thought
necessary to 'provide stiU more entrances fOr th'lse with
whombis Majesty might wishto <;ommunicateinprvate,
Attention waspaid aboyeaUtotheprovision of aseparate
apartment, adjoining their private apartments, where their
Majesties couldmeetinprivate; thesetwo apartments would
be.located under the Gallery.
Bere we are giving only sorpe indications of the plan,
without any detailsofthe layout, for this canonlybedecided
when the wishes of their Majesties are,known, This is also
tfue ofthe private apartrnents beyond themain apartments,
where the wishes of their Majesties cannot befulfilleduntil
their desires are made known.
1 am explaining the most ambitious project in detail
because 1consider itpreferable to the two others, whic.h
weremade inaccordance with suggestions tbat wereput to
Itwas thought that the simplest way in which an Artist
coulddescribehiswork wasfor himtodescribethesequence
of his ideas.
A design (01' a Palace is the project that demands the
maximum of an Artist's talent and competence, but how
much more difficultis itto fulfil this task inthe presence of
the.constrants ofharmonizing newbuildingswithold! Such
weremy first reflexionsontherestoration ofthe Chteau of
To al! these constraints was added that of economy, a
consideration thatrestricts genius.brings ittoahaltandpre-
ventit fromputtinginto effectpropitious ideas full of nobili-
ty and majesty,
These werenot the only obstacles, 1was inspired by the
beautiful examples provided by great men who contributed
to the honour of the century of Louis XIV and wanted to
surpass these artists, if this werepossible. 1took advantage
of their achievements and putting out of my mind all the
ideasthat restricted me, 1thought only"ofJ he'glofY acquired
by the rare geniuses of that .centuty that was so auspicious
. for thefinearts. 1thus sought toplungemyself intomy sub-
ject and subrnitted to those conditions it is essential to
observe inthe construction of aPalace,
The outside decoration of a Palace must berich, noble,
elegant and aboye all majestic. The Artist should be less
concerned withtheoutline than the impression it makes.
Thedecoration of'theinterior must befull of Good Taste,
grace and nobility.
. The general arrangement calls for grandiose, free and
aboye aIl nobleprogression.
TheNobles andthePUblicmust beable toen~erand leave
freely f'lr festivals and aboye aIl their rpajesties must not be
inconvenienced in any way by thearrival 'lf acrowd. The
private quarters sh'luld bearranged so asto incorporate an
essential and agreeable amenities.
Free Pfogression in any arrangement is ensured by
avoiding any detours inthe mai!')roomsthat constitute the
Palace so that when traversing it there is no hesitation in
one's progress.
Nobility derives first fromspace, which facilitates access
lo all parts of the Palac.e, and next from the impressive
. succession of suites full of avariety of beautiful things.
Above ail nobility has its source in the art of making .a
grandiose impressi'ln.
For exarpple, it is impossible not to be moved by the
GalIery of Versailles.
After traversing amultitude oflarge r'loms filledwiththe
mostbrilliant works.of art, theonlooker, whowasnot expec-
ng anything morebeautiful, comes upon .aplacethat isso
Memorndumconcerningthe Restoration
of theChteau ofVersailles
explanations whichbelong totherealmof reason, for the im-
pression animage makes on our senses issubdued whenwe
dwell onthecausethathas produced theeffect. To describe
one's pleasures s to cease living under their infuence, to
cease to enjoy them, to cease to existo
. ~~- --...-~; .........
The only way that artists should communicate among
themselves is by recalling forcefully and vividly what has
aroused their sensibility; it isthis attraction, which belongs
to them alone, that will perrnitthemto stimulate thefireof
their genius. They should beware of entering into
Cabin will teach him the art of combinng interior and
After this Cabin hewill progress successively tobuildings
that ate alittlemorecornplicated and finallyto anapartrrrent
building. Why? Because the dividing up it necessitates
requires special techniques which wiII teach him good
organization and will shape his understanding,
After making abginning withthis practical teaching, itis
necessary todevelop hisconcept of'theartistic side, properly
so called. .
Thetheory of volurnes will serveto demonstrate that the
basic principles of his art are established innature. And by
applying these volumes to art, he will learn to recognize
Pgetry. .
\ What,does this Poetry consist of? J t lies in the art of
reating perspectives through the effect of volumes. But
)what causes theeffectsof volumes? Itistheir mass. And soit
L-rs-themass ofthese volumes that givesrise toour sensations.
Without doubL And itis the effect that they have on our
senses that has enabled us to givethemappropriate names
and to distinguishmassiveforms fromdelicateenes, etc., etc.
Again it is the various sensations that weexperience that
make us realizethat volumes that drag ontheground make
us sad; those that surge up into theheavens delight us; that
we find gentle volumes pleasant whereas those that are
angular and hard wefind repugnant.
The examples taken from art that the teacher places
beforehis students will make tbis even more evident.
As aresult of tbis method the student \ViIIbecome astu-
dent bf nature for hewin beforced to recognize that tbis is
the source of beauty inarto
1havelong meditated ontheprofession 1teach and 1have
concentrated on d~vising methods for accelerating its
Itseemed to me that the manner in which architecture
was taught was in sorne respects detective and for this
reason1decided totryand findamore suitablernethodthan
the usual one.
Man can only learn by proceedng fromthesimpletothe
complicated, The frst Lesson that painters give theit
Students is how to draw eyes. Language teachers do not
begin their lessons by demonstrating the richness of a
language to their students. Why then do Atchitects make
their Students begin by drawing the ['five' erasedl orders of
Architecture which constitute all theopulenceofthis art?95
Let us proeed with order, so that the methods we are
proposing followfromaH that canbe ohtained by amethod
that will favour the study ofthis great Art.
Let Us firstascertain what wemean and what architecture
should incorporate. Let us givea definition! nis the art of
bringirig any building to perfection. What does this perfec"
/---lion consst of? A building can be considered perfect when
, its decoration corresponds to thekind ofbuilding towhiChit
Lis applied and whenits layout corresponds to its function.
In the light 9f this explanation, if we want to proceed
methodically withoUrteaching, weshould placeinfront of a
newstudent the~ost simplebuildinginexistencesuchas the
country cabin~n{entio--;;ed by Vitruvius.96
SinceevidenceisbaSedonwhat strikes usmost, weshould
make the student draw the fagade of the cabin, and then
makehimfamiliar with aplan by showing himhow todraw
one. In the same way, the section and cross-section orthe
Summary Reflections on the Art of
Teachng Architecture
the Kng's nose wthout inconvenencing himinany way.
And so he would watch without impatience and even with
some satisfaction the construction of a monument that
would bring himglory. Thework would progress according
to thecircumstances, with more or Iess speed. Bis Majesty
could allowtheArtists .suffcient timetoexecuteall hisideas;
hewould concern himself with themand irnprovethemwith
the help of the Minister of the Arts. '
Ambitious projects are time-consuming; but if there is
plenty of'tme, then theconsiderable expenses ate nolonger
an impediment; and thescience of econorny is based onthe
principle of incurring only essential expenditure; timealone
makes this possible.
Inadditionto theseadvantages isthefact that noexpense
isincurred for aternporary residencefor Bis Majesty (which
would be considerable and thus rneans that the most am-
bitious project would be less expensive than all those
projects to whichit would benecessary to add theexpenses
_)ncurred inrnoving their Majesties) and thus it isdefinitely
themost economical."
-me. Although the most ambitious project is the more expen-
sive, 1 consider it nevertheless the most economical; the
explanation is quite simple.
Anychange inthequarters of their Majesties would incur
great expense. We rnust also admit that the temporary
quarters where Bis Majesty would be lodged could only
fulfil their purpose imperfectly, The inevitableresult would
beimpatience and adesirefora moreappropriate residence;
a necessity to rush the work; the impossiblity of carrying
out a large-scale project, for which time 1S necessary; the
diffculty of fnishing at some speed, which circumstances
might necessitate; and all theannoyancesthat would follow
fromthis state of affairs, etc., etc., etc.
Such aretheinconveniences that would beoccasioned by
any project necessitating that the King move.
Themost ambitious project is infact moreexpensivethan
the two others but it does not have the inconveniences
described aboye; on thecontrary, itsimplementation would
present no problems. Nether the King, nor the Queen, nor
any member of the Royal Family, nor anyone at Court
wouldhave to move; thus it could becarried out right under
construction what we mean by a beautful order and a
beautiful style, etc., etc.
Following theseremarks on howto teach students about
the orders of Architecture, I need no further justfication of
myreasons for wantngteaching toendwhereitnowbegins.
I do not consider it necessary tfaoorate further onthis
important subject, which at first g1anceI may appear to
haveonlytouched on, becauseitisnot possibleto followjust
one method when teaching the finearts as is donefor the
exact sciences. Each individual artist grasps the beauty of
nature according torusown faculties, It cannot besaidthat
Michelangelo and Raphael, who both reached thesummum
of their art, do not reveal in their work a totally different
style, even though these two great men both derive their
talents fromNature and their studies had thesame basis.
The sarneis true of Poetry; {hework of Corneille dffers
fromthat of Racine.
Itisthus evident that inthefinearts only basic principies
can betaught and for the rest wemust refer to those who
practise thern ["with distinction" erased] who cannot and
should teach except those subjects inwhich they excel and
their own individual style.
If there are ways of making rnan perfect, they can only
derivefrornhis study of nature,
Once the teacher has demonstrated to his students that
the source of beauty lesinnature and that hemust tap this
source, thenhemust makethis study aspainless aspossible,
How can hedothis? Byplacnginfront of hirntheworks
of great rnen; the experencethey have acquired will teach
theStudent howtointerpret and observenature; for wecan-
not deny that weowemuch to our Forefathers; indeed, they
havehanded clownto us works of art sobeautful that they
are perfecto 1 would like to discuss now the orders of
Architecture, They havebecome theimmutable laws for all
men of genius who cannot.but look at themwithwonder,
We should place these immutable laws before our
students; weshould make themdraw theorders of archtec-
ture; \Ve5shouldrequire them to make a detailed study of
them, Thefollowingadvantages would betheresult.
This study will teach themthe art of using these orders
judiciously and consequently what is called the rules; they
will acquiretheartof addingto and, if necessary, improving
their outlines with the most beautiful ornarnentation, The
various intercolumniations used infamous monuments will
helpthemrecognzegoodproportons; they will senseinany
Helen Rosenau .
inc1udng Boullee's 'Architecture, Essayon Art'
Text set in 12pt Photon Times, printed by photolithography,
and bound inGreat Britain at The Pitman Press, Bath
Library ofCongress Catalog Card Number 75-37387
First published in.the U.S.A. in 1976 by Harmony Books, adivisin of
Crown Publishers, lne. 419 Park Avenue South, New York, New York
First published inGreat Britain in 1976 by
Academy Editions 7Holland Street London W8
AIl RightsReserved, No part of this book may beutilizedor reproduced
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval
systemwithoutpermission inwritingfrom thepublisher.
Copyright 1976 Academy Editions and Helen Rosenau
Designed by Richard Kelly
Edited by Robert Oresko
. 6 f a 9 f < G
cOf~ a_
Fine Arts mi,
London, 1974
H. Rosenau
This new study of the achievement of Etenne- Louis Boulle has grown out of my edition of'the master'sEssai, which was
published in 1953.1 wish to express my gratitude to those who have made my continued work on the subject not only possi-
ble, but also pleasant,
First of all 1must remember Professor E. Vinaver who was keenly interested in the early stage of the preparation and es-
pecially gave his detailed advice with regard to my editing of the French text; to the History of Art Department of the
Unversity of Manchester for providing photographs and microfilms; to the Arts Library of the snieTTniversity for
enlargements; and to Mr. A. C. Sewter for his valuable suggestions,
1wish also to express my thanks for the help given me during the past years by M. J ean Vallry-Radot, M. J ean
Adhmar, and the Staffofthe Cabinet des stampes ofthe Bblothque Nationale in Paris, especially to MUe. N. Villa and
M. J .-C. Lemagny, M. G. Beaujouan ofthe Archives Nationales who kindly assisted my workas have Mme. Wanda
Bouleau-Rabaud of the Library ofthe Ecole des Beaux -Arts and M. M. Gallet of the Muse C arnavalet who, as always, was
rnost helpful.
Mr. D. Paisey, Dr. D. E. Rhodes, Mr. J . Willison, Mr. K. Wilson and the Staff of the Reference Section.ofthe Brtish Library,
Mr. D. E. Dean and Mr. J ohn Harris and the Staff of the Royal Institute of British Architects deserve special mention.
Professor J eanBony, thenof theFrench InstituteinLondon, madevaluablesuggestions, andSirJ ohn Summerson put at my
disposal eghteenthcentury drawings andbooksinSirJ ohn Soane's Museum, 1alsowishtothank thestaff of'theVictoria and
Albert Museum, Mr. P. Slater ofthe SlideCollection of London University andhisstaff,my publisher Dr. A. Papadakis and
Robert Oresko, theeditor.