Concept: utopian architecture
Keywords: Idealism, visionariness, modernity
The treatise “Architectura et perspectiva des fortifications & artifices” by Jacques Perret, published in the year 1601, presents plans of cities and fortifications with texts and illustrations. It is divided in three themes: ideal fortified cities and citadels, religious architecture and private architecture.
I have chosen the concept of utopian architecture because this work describes and illustrates ideal urban plans after the time of the wars of religion in France. The buildings, fortifications and cities are mostly imaginary and are of great innovation for the 17th century. It also additionaly treats both religious and secular architecture which was rare for a treatise on fortifications at this time.
In the first part Perret describes and illustrates ideal starshaped, symmetrical fortifications for different types of organization, extending from a citadel to a city. He uses a system of regular fortifications and architectural constructions in series. These star-fortification defenses were necessary for the protection of cities of the time, especially after the war. The second part of the book is dedicated to religious architecture. He incorporated religious architecture in his plans by including Huguenot temples. This mixture of religious and military architecture was new for treatises on fortification. Perret also included private architecture in the third part of his work, such as buildings, small houses or royal pavilions. Perret’s designs were influenced by reformed countries. He created collective architecture inspired by buildings with several proprietors with a shared front door. These visionary designs of the buildings, including one thirteen-story edifice, complete with rooftop sculptures and fountains, foreshadowed the modern urban skyscraper. This dominating high-rise building is described in detail at the end of the treatise.
“Architectura et perspectiva des fortifications & artifices ” is a unique work on fortifications in the 17th century, because it includes a vision of utopian architecture with modern and futuristic cities.