(b. 1805, Paris, d. 1874, Paris)


French architect, designer, and writer, son of Louis-Pierre Baltard. He studied architecture under his father at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he won the Prix de Rome (1833) with a plan for a military academy. In Rome, he came under the aegis of Ingres, the director of the Académie Française there. On his return to Paris in 1839, Baltard won a competition to design a tomb for Napoleon I but was replaced because of his youth and inexperience. He then entered the government architectural service, in which he rose rapidly, enjoying the support of his friend Georges-Eugène Haussmann. He became chief architect to the city of Paris and diocesan architect to the département of the Seine in 1848. In his official capacities, Baltard was associated with several major projects in Paris, including the completion of the Hôtel du Timbre (1846-50) and the Hôtel de Ville (1848-68; destroyed 1871).

Baltard began work on his best-known project, Les Halles Centrales, in 1845, when he and Félix-Emmanuel Callet (1791-1854) were appointed to design a new covered market to serve Paris. In 1847 a design for eight large stone pavilions with iron roof structures was submitted. One such pavilion was built (1851-53; destroyed 1860s) but was found to have defective ventilation and poor access. The emperor, Napoleon III, stopped all work after a site visit and ordered a competition to be held to find an improved design. With Haussmann's support, Baltard and Callet retained the commission. The first pavilion of a planned total of 14 was begun in 1854, in which year Baltard assumed full responsibility for the project, and the tenth was completed in 1866. Two more were built in 1936.

The success of Les Halles lay in the way it offered a simple solution to the demands of a market: it was large, well lit, and well ventilated. In addition to the novel exposure of the iron structure externally, Baltard's innovation was to divide the pavilions according to the commodities handled there, connecting them by covered ways. Les Halles subsequently became a model for other markets but was demolished in the 1970s.

In 1862 Baltard was invited to design a new Parisian church, St Augustin, Boulevard Malesherbes, in which, for economy, an iron framework was used for the first time in a French church.

Among other projects in Paris, Baltard undertook the restoration of many churches, including St Germain-l'Auxerrois, St Eustache, and St Leu. He also designed and oversaw the decoration of others, for example, St Sulpice and St Gervais. Often these were decorated in collaboration with his friend the painter Hippolyte Flandrin, most notably at St Germain-des-Prés (1852-61). Baltard also designed the tombs of Flandrin (1864) in St Germain-des-Prés and Ingres (1867) in Père Lachaise cemetery, as well as commemorative medals and decorations for state occasions.

Baltard received great public acclaim for his work, becoming in 1863 both an officer of the Légion d'honneur and a member of the Institut de France. From 1842 he was a professor of architectural theory at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He was twice president of the Société Centrale des Architectes, which he had helped to found.