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The impact and influence of Laugier's Essay on Architecture in France and in England.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 29
Recording date: 1979-07-26
First transmission date: 09-09-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:18:05
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Producer: Helen Rapp
Contributor: David Watkin
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Essay on architecture
Footage description: Laugier's Essay on Architecture created a stir both in France and in England when it appeared in the seventeen - fifties. Its frontispiece (fig. l) portray Architecture, in the shape of a woman pointing to a rustic hut, that being her origin. Even though the belief that art and architecture should imitate nature, goes back to the Greeks, Laugier's approach was novel, because he insisted that the simple constructional principles are all-important. Thus, what matters is the free-standing column as a support, the lintel as a beam and the pediment as a pitched roof. Even the wall is less important and should be unobtrusive. The sculptural embellishments of Baroque or Rococo styles must be avoided. He wanted a rational constructional system with the lightness and grace of Gothic (and Greek) architecture. Being a Catholic priest he thought mainly in terms of a church, while in England neo-classical experiments centred on the country house. Laugier's ideal church was to have rows of free-standing columns between the nave and the aisles, and to achieve height a second row of columns was to have been superimposed. He borrowed from a 17th century architect, Perrault (fig. 6), the idea of coupling each set of columns to create more lightness and width. Another building which was a harbinger of Laugier's theories was a chapel by Boffrand (fig. 7). Thus, Laugier was not a revolutionary theorist but the right man at the right time. He was at the heart of a continuing tradition, but a sudden crop of churches in neo-classical style which appeared soon after Laugier's Essay testify to his influence. The most important of these is Ste. Genevive by Soufflot. In England, his theories had less influence in the 18th century, except for George Dance's All Hallows (fig. 13) and J.J. Scoles chapel (fig. 14). They were revived by Sir John Soane in the 19th century.
Master spool number: TLN30950H940
Production number: TLN30950H940
Available to public: no