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French architecture

The Nineteenth Century

In the mid-19th cent. the Gothic revival was ardently championed in France by the architect and theorist Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, restorer of many of the country's most cherished monuments, including Notre Dame in Paris (1842–68). During this period, the city of Paris was extensively remodeled under Napoleon III, who commissioned Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann to drive new boulevards through the heart of the city. At the head of one of these new boulevards stands the sumptuous neobaroque Paris Opéra (1861–75) by J. L. C. Garnier.

The French preference for classicism was institutionalized in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, whose curriculum was emulated around the world. Following a functionalist course, Henri Labrouste designed buildings utilizing cast-iron construction, such as the Bibliothèque Ste Geneviève (1843–50). French technological prowess culminated in the erection of the Eiffel Tower (1889; see under Eiffel, Alexandre Gustave).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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