Claude-Nicolas Ledoux

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Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736–1806) was one of the earliest exponents of French Neoclassical architecture. He used his knowledge of architectural theory to design not only in domestic architecture but town planning; as a consequence of his visionary plan for the Ideal City of Chaux, he became known as a utopian.

Ledoux, Étienne-Louis Boullée and Jean-Jacques Lequeu were each architects and thinkers whose ideas reflected some of the most radical strains of liberal bourgeois philosophy, with its cult of reason and devotion to the triplicate ideals of liberté, égalité, and fraternité. The structures they imagined and city plans they proposed were undeniably some of the most ambitious and revolutionary of their time. At their most fantastic, the buildings they envisioned were absolutely unbuildable — either according to the technical standards of their day or arguably even of our own. [1]



  • G. Levallet-Haug, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, 1736-1806, Paris and Strasbourg, 1934. (French)
  • J.-Ch. Moreux, M. Raval, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, architecte du Roi, Paris, 1945. (French)
  • Emil Kaufmann, Three Revolutionary Architects: Boullée, Ledoux, and Lequeu, Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society, 1952.
    • Trois architectes révolutionnaires, Boullée, Ledoux, Lequeu, Paris, 1978. (French)
  • Jean-Claude Lemagny (ed.), Visionary Architects: Boullée, Ledoux, Lequeu, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1968. Catalogue. New edition: Hennessey & Ingalls, 2002.
  • Michel Gallet, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736–1806), Paris, 1980. (French)
  • Anthony Vidler, Ledoux, Paris: Hazan, 1987. (French). Foreign Editions: Berlin, 1989; Tokyo, 1989; Madrid, 1994.
  • Annie Jacques, Jean-Pierre Mouilleseaux, Les Architectes de la Liberté, Paris: Gallimard, 1988, 196 pp. (French)
  • Les Architectes de la liberté, 1789-1799, Paris: École nationale des beaux-arts, 1989, 396 pp. Catalogue. (French)
  • Alan Braham, The Architecture of the French Enlightenment, Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1989.
  • Anthony Vidler, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Architecture and Social Reform at the End of the Ancien Régime, Cambridge (Mass.) and London, 1990.
  • Michel Gallet, Architecture de Ledoux, inédits pour un tome III, Paris, 1991. (French)
  • Jean-Claude Lemagny, Visionary Architects: Boullée, Ledoux, Lequeu, Hennessey & Ingalls, 2002.
  • Anthony Vidler, "The Ledoux Effect: Emil Kaufmann and the Claims of Kantian Autonomy", Perspecta, Vol. 33, Mining Autonomy (2002), pp 16-29.
  • Daniel Rabreau, Claude Nicolas Ledoux, Monum, Paris, 2005. (French)
  • Anthony Vidler, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux: Architect of the Revolution Between Vision and Utopia, Birkhauser, 2006.
  • Ross Wolfe, "Revolutionary precursors: Radical bourgeois architects in the age of reason and revolution", The Charnel-House blog, 25 June 2011.
  • Jean-Pierre Lyonnet, Les Propylées de Paris, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Editions Honoré Clair, 2013. (French)