Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (21 March 1736 – 18 November 1806). He was one of the French neoclassical architect. He used his knowledge of theory to design not only domestic architecture but also in town planning; as a consequence of his visionary plan for the Ideal City of Chaux, he became known as a utopian. Ledoux greatest works were founded by the French monarchy and came to be perceived as symbols of the Ancien Régime.
The French Revolution obstruct his career; much of his work was explode in the 19th century. He published a collection of his designs under the title Architecture considered in relation to morals, and legislation in 1804. In this book Ledoux took the opportunity of revising his earlier designs, making them more rigorously and up to date. This revision has distorted an accurate assessment of his role in the evolution of Neoclassical architecture.
Claude Ledoux most determined work was the unfinished Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans, an idealistic town showing many examples of architecture parlante. Conversely, his works and commissions also included the more mundane and everyday architecture such as approximately 60 elaborate tollgates around Paris in the Wall of Tax Farm.
Claude-Nicolas Ledoux was born in 1736 in Dormans-Sur-Marne. He is the son of a modest merchant from champagne. At a small age, his mother Francoise Domino encouraged him to develop his drawing skills. Later the Abbey of Sausage funded his studies in Paris between 1749 to 1753 at the College de Beauvais, where he followed a course in Classic. At the age of 17, when he leaving college he took employment as an engraver but 4 years later he began to study architecture under the tutelage of Jacques- Francois Blondel from he maintained a lifelong respect.
At the age of 17, when he leaving college he took employment as an engraver but 4 years later he began to study architecture under the tutelage of Jacques- Francois Blondel from he maintained a lifelong respect. Then he trained under Pierre Contant d’Ivry and also made the acquaintance of Jean-Michel Chevrolet. These two Parisian architects designed in both the restrained french Rococo manner is known as “Louis XV style” and in the “Greek Taste” phase of early Neoclassicism. Under the tutelage of Contant d’Ivry and Chevrolet, He was also introduced to Classical architecture, in particular, the temples of Paestum, with the works of Palladio, were to influence him greatly.
The two architects introduced Ledoux to their affluent clientele. One of Ledoux’s first patrons was the Baron Crozat de Thiers, an immensely wealthy connoisseur who commissioned him to remodel part of his palatial townhouse in the Place Vendôme. Another he obtained through the auspices of his teachers was Président Hocquart de Montfermeil.
In 1762, the young Ledoux was commissioned to redecorate the Café Godeau, in Saint-Honoré. The result was an interior of trompe l’oeil and mirrors. Pilasters painted on the walls were interspersed with alternating Pier glasses with trophies of helmets and weaponry, all executed in bold detail. In 1969 this interior was moved to the Musée Carnavalet Claude designed for Président Hocquart in 1764, a Palladian house using the colossal order. Ledoux would frequently employ this pattern that was condemned by the strict French tradition, which embraced the principle of superimposing the classic motifs on each floor, rising to the complex: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, etc.
On 26 July 1764, in the Saint-Eustache Church, Paris, He married Marie Bureau, the daughter of a court musician. An intimate from Champagne, Joseph Marin Masson de Courcelles, found him a position as the architect for the Forestry Department. Between 1764 and 1770 he worked on the renovation and designs of churches, bridges, wells, fountains and schools, in Tonnerrois and Bassigny.
Ledoux designed the Château de Bénouville in Calvados (1768–1769) for the Marquis de Livry. With its simple, facade of four stories, broken by a prostyle portico, the Château de Bénouville, while not one of Ledoux’s most inventive plans, is notable for the unusual placement of the main steps at the center of the garden facade, a position normally taken by the main building.
In 1769-1771 Ledoux traveled to England. There he became familiar with the Palladian style of architecture. Palladio was famous for his Italian villas. From this point Ledoux worked often in the Palladian style, usually employing a cubic design broken by a prostyle portico which gave an air of importance even to a small structure.
Then, he built, a house for Marie-Madeleine Guimard in the Chaussée d’Antin in 1770; and commission the house of Mlle Saint-Germain and most important the Music Pavilion constructed between 1770-1771 at the Château de Louveciennes for the King’s mistress, whose assistance and impact were to be of use to Ledoux in later years.
Ledoux was interested in the work of the Royal Administrations Department and at times considered working for them, even though the positions they offered were often on the borderline between architect and engineer. Through this interest in civic and municipal architecture and due, in no small part, to the notorious influence of Madame du Barry, Ledoux was commissioned with the modernization of the Eastern Saltworks. The modernization was initiated following the construction of the Burgundy Canal.
In 1771 he was promoted to Inspector of the saltworks in Franche-Comté, a title he held until 1790, with the position yielding him an annual salary of 6000 lives. The Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans (1775–1778)
- Decoration of Café military, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris, 1762 (Musée Carnavalet, Paris)
- Château de Mauperthuis, 1763
- Hôtel du président Hocquart, 66 rue de la Chaussée-d’Antin, Paris, 1764-1765.
- Hôtel d’Hallwyll, 28 rue Michel-le-Comte and 15 rue de Montmorency, Paris, 1766: It is the only private construction of Ledoux which remains in the capital.
Claude-Nicolas Ledoux died in Paris, France at the age of 70 on 18 November 1806.