Louis Nicolas Victor Louis
architect; b. May 10, 1731; d. July 2, 1800.
Victor Louis was the son of a mason of Paris. In 1746 he entered the École royale d'Architecture. In the competition for the Prix de Rome in 1755 he was granted a special prize with a gold medal and a pension at Rome. He returned to Paris in 1759. In 1765 Louis was appointed architect to Stanislas Auguste Poniatowsky, king of Poland, with permission to reside in Paris. He restored and decorated the royal palace at Warsaw, but left no monuments in Poland. His chief work is the great theatre of Bordeaux, built to replace one burned in 1755; this was inaugurated April 7, 1780. The main features of its arrangement have been adopted in the Grund Opera in Paris (see Garnier, C.). In 1780 Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans, Duke of Chartres, commissioned him to rebuild his residence, the Palais Royal in Paris, originally designed for the Cardinal Richelieu by Jacques Lemercier. The restoration included a new theatre to take the place of the old Salle de l'Opéra. This theatre, long celebrated as the Theatre Francais, has been recently injured by fire. Louis published a monograph on the Salle de Spectacle de Bordeaux, Paris, 1782.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Osservazioni Sopra la Lettre de M. Mariette (Rome: 1765), selected plates.

Pierre Patte, Key Plan of the Monumens eriges en France a la gloire de Louis XV, (1765).
The outburst of plaza design connected with the erection of the monument for Louis XV in Paris can be studied in the wonderfully illustrated book written by Pierre Patte (1723-1814), architect of the duke of Zweibruecken, and published in Paris 1765, under the title: 'Monumens eriges en France a la gloire de Louis XV". This collection of plans is so important and of such fundamental value that it seems surprising how little it was appreciated or even known, until Robert Bruck recently (in 1908) emphasized its importance. Many esthetic blunders in city planning would have been avoided if the great body of French thought represented in Patte's book had found more serious students among civic designers
Werner Hagemann & Elbert Peets, The American Vitruvius: An Architects' Handbook of Civic Art (New York: 1922), p. 67.
Patte's composite plan of the many discrete and diverse design alternatives for an 18th century urban square housing an equestrian statue of Louis XV is nothing less than a virtual Paris, a Paris based on both fact and fancy, yet also a Paris ripe with potential. By utilizing the simple and direct concepts of inclusion and overlay, Patte has, with relative ease, transformed a Paris of extreme density into a new urban paradigm based on a multitude of open spaces, more light and air, etc.
Moreover, the simultaneous grouping of all the designs into the then existing Parisian contexts extends the idea of this particular "virtual city" to also being a virtual museum of mid-18th century French urban planning.
seeking precedents... ...finding inspiration




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