Pioneers of modern architecture, Victor Baltard and Henri Labrouste have innovated by their structural and ornamental use of metal. Two exhibitions pay tribute to them in Paris, at the Musée d'Orsay and the Cité de l'architecture Paris du October 11, 2012 to January 7, 2013
A time of unprecedented change and innovation, the 19th century saw the advent of a new civilization, dominated by spectacular urban growth and no less dazzling industrial and scientific development. New needs appeared. Cities saw the flourishing of factories and covered markets, town halls and courthouses, libraries and museums, schools and hospitals.
Photo: reading room Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève Paris - Labrouste
Architects are at the helm in developing these programs. Among them, Henri Labrouste (1801-1875) and Victor Baltard (1805-1874) attached their names to canonical achievements that not only contributed to the progress of architecture, but also reshaped the face of Haussmann's Paris. The former built the Sainte-Geneviève library and the National Library, the latter the Halles (now disappeared) and the Saint-Augustin church.
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The use of iron and cast iron on these sites made Labrouste and Baltard pioneers of modern architecture, but their genius is not limited to these technical innovations. These all-round architects belong to a generation that took a different look at the past in order to seek answers and constructive solutions to new problems. All their work is permeated by this relationship to history, which is both scholarly and pragmatic. And, for them, architecture is not just the application of technical know-how, but the creation of a total work, in which the ornament is part of a symbolic discourse. In many ways, their careers follow parallel paths, ending a year apart with the completion of their masterpiece.
Read more in the Connaissance des Arts Magazine November 2012
More about the place : City of Architecture and Heritage
More about the place : Musée d'Orsay
(Jean-François Lasnier / Knowledge of the Arts - November 7, 2012)