Constructing Classicism: Architectural Theory, Practice, and Expertise in Paris (1670-1720)
NGUYEN-DISSERTATION-2017.pdf (147.2Mb)(embargoed until: 2025-05-01)
MetadataShow full item record
CitationNguyen, Jason. 2017. Constructing Classicism: Architectural Theory, Practice, and Expertise in Paris (1670-1720). Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation examines how the practicalities of craft, manufacturing, and project financing intersected with academic theory in the development of French architectural classicism. From assembly to materials, measurement techniques to the organization of labor, the aim is to describe the ways in which the realms of art, expertise, and science intervened in architecture as a discipline and profession during the reign of Louis XIV. The project outlines how the defenders of French classicism (as protected by the absolutist state and the institutions supporting it) appropriated, mobilized, and systematized craft technologies and the methods of the mechanical sciences when seeking theoretical validation and regulatory control of building practice. Although their claims to “truth” and “universality” in architectural meaning drew from the period’s empirical approaches to scientific inquiry, and thus registered as fact, the social and professional viability of their assertions nevertheless relied on such volatile factors as the availability of natural resources and the kingdom’s military and economic strength. The authority of artistic and technical expertise, therefore, demanded stability in practical domains like the cost of materials, availability of work, and the development of industry and manufacturing. The study begins with the establishment of the Royal Academy of Architecture and ends with the economic crisis of 1720, for which the contradictions inherent in the academic model (as well as in French mercantile policy) reached a point of fracture.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365506
- FAS Theses and Dissertations