Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Learning from Ledoux, Paris

While I organize my photos from last week's trip to Paris and Brussels I thought I would share with you a hotel particulier by Ledoux that I stumbled upon with friends in le Marais.
The last standing private house designed by Ledoux, the Hotel D'Hallwyll also was really the start of his prolific career. Ledoux started this extensive renovation to an older house (designed by Mansart) for the wife of the Comte d'Hallwyll who had inherited the house from her father.
The house now holds 12 apartments and is private but we were lucky to walk by and gain access to the front courtyard.

Located at 28 Rue St-Michel-le-Comte (on the bottom of the plan above) one enters into the entry courtyard. The extensive stables for 18 horses are located on the upper right hand corner with the famous garden on the upper left hand side.
Most of the interiors have been lost over the centuries although the staircase is original and was recently renovated (read more about that HERE with fantastic pictures)
The Neoclassic facades were the most modern of their day. Part of the reason they were so revolutionary is that Ledoux never studied in Rome unlike other architects.  His sometimes rather inventive designs were based on his second hand knowledge from Palladio and Piranesi (in the manner of later post-modernists).
I would think this simple service stairwall (located in the lower right hand corner of the entry courtyard) is also original. Love the ancient limestone floors and bottom treads.
 I also loved these gates separating the courtyard from the street featuring a Greek key pattern.
The street facade has stone rustication which Ledoux based on the (now gone) building located next door. Prior to this time period, extensive stone rustication was generally found on prisons or banks.
As the street is so narrow it's hard to get the full facade in a photograph so below is Ledoux's drawing.
Notice how the rustication is different above the 2nd floor windows than what was built- a change probably made in the field during construction to keep the roof lower.
 Fluted columns frame the entrance gate below a lovely carved stone tympanum.
 Notice the 2 service floor windows are banded together with a larger principal floor on top.
The interior rear garden was the largest innovation by Ledoux, located at the far right of the building section drawing below.  He surrounded the garden with a Doric colonnade much like those found in ancient Roman villas making the house appear much larger than it actually was.
The street behind (Rue Montmorency) was not in existence when the garden was built so a faux colonnade was painted above the rear wall onto the side of a building which no longer exists. Now however the garden benefits from doors directly out onto the street found on either side of the colonnade.
The beauty of walking around Paris is finding gems such as this!