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Le musée de maquettes Claude-Nicolas Ledoux

Dominique Massounie

The list of his works is impressive. In three decades, at the end of the 18th century, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1734-1806) produced as much as all of today’s greatest “stararchitects”. With one small difference: today, teams of hundreds of helpers surround each architect. As an example, he designed 54 pavilions for the wall around Paris, named the wall of the “Fermiers généraux”. The Revolution and the end of the tax paid at the entrance to Paris put an end to the program, but a “mere” 43 of these projects had already been built, all in his favorite style inspired from classical architecture, with Doric columns, frontons, arcades, friezes, etc. Prior to those constructions, Ledoux had already left a series of private homes, in particular for Madame du Barry in Louveciennes, as well as bridges, churches, troughs, and theaters, among others. Both a Stakhanovist and a utopist professional – he designed spherical buildings to which the famous camemberts by Manolo Nuñez in Marne-la-Vallée are a tribute -, a greater part of his constructions has disappeared. This book brings back a part of his lost heritage, through recent models made based on his drawings. They are exhibited at the salt mines of Arc-et-Senans, the most important of his works still standing. These models show his obsession with pure forms, with symmetry, with excesses. This is a very special mixture, which later inspired a number of prophets of Socialism – the phalansteries -, as well as architects of totalitarian systems.

Le musée de maquettes Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, by Dominique Massounie, h’artpon publishing house, 2017, 176 p., €20.

Le musée de maquettes Claude-Nicolas Ledoux - Dominique Massounie

Review published in the newsletter #492 - from 23 November 2017 to 29 November 2017

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