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tienne-Louis Boulle

tienne-Louis Boulle
tienne-Louis Boulle (February 12, 1728 February 4, 1799) was a visionary French neoclassical architect whose work greatly influenced contemporary architects and is still influential today.

Born in Paris, he studied under Jacques-Franois Blondel, Germain Boffrand and Jean-Laurent Le Geay, from whom he learned the mainstream French Classical architecture in the 17th and 18th century and the Boulle, Deuxieme projet pour la Bibliothque du Roi (1785) Neoclassicism that evolved after the mid century. He was elected to the Acadmie Royale d'Architecture in 1762 and became chief architect to Frederick II of Prussia, a largely honorary title. He designed a number of private houses from 1762 to 1778, though most of these no longer exist; notable survivors include the Htel Alexandre and Htel de Brunoy, both in Paris. Together with Claude Nicolas Ledoux he was one of the most influential figures of French neoclassical architecture.

Geometric style
It was as a teacher and theorist at the cole Nationale des Ponts et Chausses between 1778 and 1788 that Boulle made his biggest impact, developing a distinctive abstract geometric style inspired by Classical forms. His work was characterised by the removal of all unnecessary ornamentation, inflating geometric forms to a huge scale and repeating elements such as columns in huge ranges. Boulle promoted the idea of making architecture expressive of its purpose, a doctrine that his detractors termed architecture parlante ("talking architecture"), which was an essential element in Beaux-Arts architectural training in the later 19th century. His style was most notably exemplified in his proposal for a cenotaph for the English scientist Isaac Newton, which would have taken the form of a sphere 150m (490ft) high embedded in a circular base topped with cypress trees. Though the structure was never built, its design Boulle, Cnotaphe Newton (1784) was engraved and circulated widely in professional circles. Boullee's Cenotaph for Isaac Newton is a funerary monument celebrating a figure interred elsewhere. Designed in 1784, for all its apparent originality, it actually derives from contemporary archaeology. The small sarcophagus for Newton is placed at the lower pole of the sphere. The design of the memorial creates the effect of day and night. The effect by night, when the sarcophagus is illuminated by the starlight coming through the holes in the vaulting. The effect by day is an armillary sphere hanging in the center that gives off a mysterious glow. For Boulle symmetry and variety were the golden rules of architecture.

tienne-Louis Boulle

Salon for the Htel de Tourolles

The boiseries, still often dated in the mid 1760s, were discussed in the issue of L'Avant-coureur for 21 January 1761, and so must have been carried out about 1758-59 (Eriksen 1974:298 and pl. 35). The Htel in the Marais district remodelled for Claude-Charles-Dominique Tourolle survives (the rue d'Orlans is now the rue Charlot) but the salon's boiseries and chimneypieces were removed in the mid-nineteenth century to a house in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor now in the possession of the Cercle Interalli. Round-arched mirrors over the chimneypieces and centering the long wall in a shallow recess are disposed in a system of stop-fluted Ionic pilasters. White marble draped caryatid therm figures support the chimneypiece's tablette. There is a full architrave under a dentilled cornice. The white-and-gold ensemble would still have been fully in style in 1790.

Htel Alexandre
The Htel Alexandre or Htel Soult, rue de la Ville l'vque, Paris (176366), is the sole survivor of Boulle's residential work in Paris. It was built for the financier Andr-Claude-Nicolas Alexandre.[1] In its cour d'honneur four Corinthian columns embedded against a recess in the wall plane create an entry (now glazed). Flanking doors in the corners of the courtyard have isolated architraves embedded in the wall above their plain openings, while above oval bull's-eye windows are draped with the swags of husks that became a common feature of the neoclassical manner. The garden front has a colossal order of pilasters raised on the high basement occupied by the full height of the ground floor.

Boulle's ideas had a major influence on his contemporaries, not least because of his role in teaching other important architects such as Jean Chalgrin, Alexandre-Thodore Brongniart, and Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand. Some of his work only saw the light of day in the 20th century; his book Architecture, essai sur l'art ("Essay on the Art of Architecture), arguing for an emotionally committed Neoclassicism, was only published in 1953. The volume contained his work from 1778 to 1788, which mostly comprised designs for public buildings on a wholly impractical grand scale. Boulle's fondness for grandiose designs has caused him to be characterized as both a megalomaniac and a visionary. His focus on polarity (offsetting opposite design elements) and the use of light and shadow was highly innovative, and continues to influence architects to this day. He was "rediscovered" in the 20th century and has influenced recent architects such as Aldo Rossi. Peter Greenaway's film, The Belly of an Architect (1987), concerns a fictitious architect who is staging an exhibition devoted to Boulle's work. The film contains many visual references to Boulle.

tienne-Louis Boulle

[1] The house passed to the marquis de Collonge, then to the marchal Soult, from 1802 to 1818, whose name it now also sometimes bears.

Boulle & visionary architecture ed. Helen Rosenau, Pub. Harmony Books, New York, 1976 ISBN 0-85670-157-2. Boulle's Treatise on Architecture by tienne-Louis Boulle, ed. by Helen Rosenau, pub. Alec Tiranti, Ltd. London: 1953 First Edition tienne-fggds (1728-1799: Theoretician of Revolutionary Architecture) by Jean Marie Perouse De Montclos, pub.George Braziller; ISBN 0-8076-0672-3; (February 1974) Visionary Architects: Boulle, Ledoux, Lequeu by Jean-Claude Lemagny, pub. Hennessey & Ingalls; ISBN 0-940512-35-1; (July 2002) Les Architectes de la Libert by Annie Jacques, pub. Dcouvertes Gallimard #47; ISBN 2-07-053067-1; (November 1988) [In French] A Dictionary of Architecture, James Stevens Curl, Oxford University Press (1999). "Boulle, Etienne-Louis (1728 - 1799)", The Hutchinson Encyclopedia, Helicon (2001). "Boulle, Etienne-Louis (1728 - 1799)", Crystal Reference Encyclopedia (2001). Svend Eriksen, Early Neo-Classicism in France 1974. (London: Faber) translated by Peter thornton.

External links
Boulle exhibit at Bibliothque nationale de France (French) Ministre de la Culture ( Internet architecture resource Successor to the Acadmie Royale d' Architecture Movie: The Belly of an Architect 1987 dir. Peter Greenaway 3D model of Newton Cenotaph details?mid=5f760326a418cc6864b189cd9edadb16&prevstart=0

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tienne-Louis Boulle Source: Contributors: 2A02:2F06:21:F002:0:0:BC1A:1C2C, Andybak, Astragal, Bender235, Blahm, Caltrop, Chris93, ChrisO, D6, DVD R W, Dcfleck, Everyking, Ghirlandajo, JFG, Jaxl, KnightRider, Lockley, Look2See1, MCiura, Mario todte, Menchi, Mick gold, Oerjan, Olivier, Omnipaedista, OwenBlacker, Pethan, PhilipC, Plehn, Raven in Orbit, RogDel, Sam Hocevar, Shadowjams, Sicilarch, WOSlinker, Wetman, Yelyos, Zazpi, 17 anonymous edits

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Image:Bibliotheque nationale boul.jpg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors: AndreasPraefcke, Coyau, Ecummenic, Erasoft24, Mats Halldin, Olivier2, Paris 16, TomAlt Image:Newton memorial boullee.jpg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors: Coyau, Mats Halldin, Mattes, Menchi, Olivier2

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