Jacques-François Blondel was an architect best known for his teaching and writing, and was considered one of the most influential architects of his time. He founded his own Architecture School (Ecole des Arts) and was accepted as Professor into the “Académie Royale d’Architecture”.
Later he wrote the book: “Cours d’Architecture”, which was published from 1771 to 1777 in 6 text and 3 plate volumes.
Course d’architecture is based on the lectures held by Jacques-François Blondel at the university. It is a summary of the architectural thoughts and teachings of Blondel, not only on the topic of construction and proportion but also decoration. The book goes into extreme detail on how building and rooms should function, also taking a closer look at interior decoration and even gardening. It carries a lot of information, and its aim is to teach, and enlighten the reader.
He starts off the book, stating some of the preliminary observations made in architecture as a way to introduce the reader to the topic. He touches on the Vitruvian branches of architecture, then goes into architectural History, and also touches on the subject of materials. It is apparent that he eases the reader into the topic by touching on the different aspects of architecture.
Although Blondel was widely known for his teachings, and the book also being known as one of the most important handbooks in architecture, the writing style isn’t as complicated as one would suspect. His writing style is quite colloquial, trying to make the topic easy understandable and engaging. This further shows, how the aim of Le Cours d’ Architecture is to teach and make the reader understand. Jacques-François Blondel seems to manage to explain complicated subjects and theories in an understandable and accessible way. This ist probably a further reason as to why Le Cours d’ Architecture, even after Blondels death, became one of the most influential handbooks on architecture of its time.
Blondel includes a lot of different topics and theories in the book, almost like a summary of architecture, with an encyclopaedic approach. His aim was that his graduates should be able to examine architecture and have a broad education, so they would be able to make knowledgeable decisions and choices. This is the main objective of the Book: Le Cours d’Architecture, and it becomes quite apparent as to why it has become such an influential handbook on the topic of Architecture.
Keywords: writing style – handbook – teaching