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Claude Nicolas Ledoux


Ledoux's Rotonde de la Villette in Paris

A building of the Royal Saltworks

Claude Nicolas Ledoux (March 21, 1736-November 18, 1806) was a French neoclassical architect. Known as a Utopian he hoped that urban design and architecture could lead to an ideal society. Despite this his great works were funded by the French monarchy and came to be seen as symbols of the ancien regime. His career was thus curtailed by the French Revolution. In 1804 he published a book on his works titled L'Architecture considérée sous le rapport de l'art, des mœurs et de la législation.

His most ambitious work was the uncompleted Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans, a utopian town showing many examples of Architecture parlante.

He also designed about 60 elaborate toll gates on the Wall of the Farmers-General around Paris.
 Ledoux and Boullee: Visionary Architecture of the Revolution

Etienne-Louis Boullee (1728-99)

biblioteque royale.jpg (124280 bytes) Project for the Bibliotheque Nationale (National Library), Paris 1785

Monument to Isaac Newton, c. 1784

Monum to Newton.jpg (122898 bytes)  Exterior, note the rows of cypress trees ringing the sphere

Monum to Newton2.jpg (125589 bytes)  Interior at night, with its own internal illumination recreating the solar system

Monum to Newton3.jpg (82794 bytes) Interior during the day, with light admitted through holes in the dome to recreate the night sky

Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1735-1806)

Hotel de Thelusson.jpg (113933 bytes) Hotel Thelusson, Paris (demolished)

House for Marie-Madeleine Guimard, Paris, 1773-6

 Hotel Grimard.jpg (58524 bytes)  Elevation, composed of a double height coffered niche screened by four Ionic columns. The figure sculpture resting on the entablature of the portico represents Terpsichore, the muse of dancing, an appropriate choice as Guimard was a dancer at the Paris Opera

Hotel Guimard.jpg (78778 bytes) Plan, showing the small private theater on the second floor of the gate house

Barrieres, or toll gates for Paris, 1784-89

Various Custom Houses.jpg (126528 bytes)  Most of Ledoux's toll gates were destroyed in the French Revolution shortly after they were completed.

Custom House.jpg (82629 bytes)    Barriere de la Villette.jpg (102870 bytes) Rotonde de la Villette, Paris; one of the few surviving toll gates.

Ideal town of Chaux (1775-9)

City of Chaux.jpg (112782 bytes) Aerial view showing the salt works which were built at the center of the double D-shaped plan

Salt Work2.jpg (85070 bytes) Director's House, Saltworks, Arc et Senans; note the Banded Doric columns

 Salt Works2.jpg (114882 bytes)  Detail  Salt Work3.jpg (104666 bytes) The curved range of work buildings

Salt Works.jpg (173132 bytes) Detail used extensively throughout the Saltworks - showing concentrated salt water at the final moment before crystallization

After a theory as Kupferstecher it was in of Paris pupils of the architect Jacques François Blondel, an important theoretician of the classicism, and rounded its training with that 1757 from Rome L returned - F. Trouard off. Its first building was the lock of Eaubonne (1764); the change of the Hôtel followed d`Hallwyl in the style of the classicism (1764-66; from 15 of it in Paris built for city palaces the only received one), as well as among other things the Hôtel d`Uzès (1767), the Hôtel Guimard (1770, destroyed), the Hôtel de Montmorency (1772, 1869 burned down), the Hôtel Saint Germain (1772, 1862 burned down) as well as with Caen the lock of Bénouville (1768-77), which already betrays its preference for geometrical, simple and schnoerkellose, in addition, monumental forms. The desire house (1770-72), carried out by it in Louveciennes, was a gift Ludwig XV. at madame you Barry, whose favour did not carry its career incompetently: 1771 it became "Comissaire you Roi" and "Inspecteur of the Salines de Franche Franche-Comté" (1771-93). From madame you Barry followed the orders for the Petit Château in Eaubonne "(1772/1773), COMM us in Versailles (1772) as well as for projects for a lock in Louveciennes (1772/73) and a Hôtel in Paris. 1773 it becomes member of the Académie Royale of the Beaux kind.
The drafts for the royal saltworks and city of Chaux, manufactured for the salzgewinnung between the localities Arc and Senans starting from 1774, are expression of a new ideology referring into the social. From the project only the actual saltworks range not however the umkraenzende city is carried out. But the idea of an ideal ganzheitlichen production and dwelling seems also in the fragment up: around the house of the director, to a certain extent under its guidance, supervision and responsibility, semicircularly the processing and workshops are arranged, around again the ring (did not realize) of the living and administrative city to put should the aufklaererische attitude of mind increasingly certainly also the organization of the buildings themselves. Reason and diagram predominantly become from the ark-typical forms of the cube, which determines ball and the pyramid, whereby decorating decoration is void increasingly. In the late work a "architecture parlante" is publicised: the function of the Reifenmachers coins/shapes the form of its house, by the house of the river guard flows the river...
Briefly before the revolution, starting from 1785, he sketches Calonne, in his cool rational, on behalf contrôleur général the Finances, in its varieties the organization of the individual houses in addition, eklektischem style over 50 customs offices, which are arranged around Paris in a belt and which is to ensure a complete collection of city dues; mentioned by it self-confidently "les propylées". The revolution brought it as symbols of the repression away-swept (from 10 to 14 July 1789, up to 4) and to Ledoux 1794 as a helper of the the potentiometer mash into the prison de la Force, for which pikanterweise drafts of the revolution architect Boullée are the basis. It used the detention around itself in its with 125 copper passes (in particular not realized drafts) equipped work "L'Architecture considérée sous le rapport de l'art, moers et de la législation" (1804 in Paris publish; New edition in two volumes, without interpreting text new 1847 under the title "L'Architecture de Claude Nicolas Ledoux") as a revolution architect. Buildings still which can be mentioned: the theatre in Besancon (1778-84), the house Hosten in Paris (1787) as well as the prison in Aix (1786-90).