LOUIS, Victor
(b. 1731, Paris, d. ca. 1800, Paris)

Biography

French architect and designer. He changed his birth name "Louis-Nicolas Louis" to "Victor Louis". He was a student of Louis Adam from 1748. In 1755 he won the "Grand Prix", or more precisely a special "Premier Prix extraordinaire hors concours" as his final design did not agree with his esquisse.

While in Rome (1756-59), he offended the director of the Academy there, Charles-Joseph Natoire, and this social misstep resulted in his subsequent exclusion from the Academy of Architecture and from participation in royal building projects. However, after an unproductive sojourn in Poland (1765), he returned to France and began receiving commissions. The Intendance (governor's residence) at Besançon (begun 1771) was his first important building, and this was followed by his masterpiece, the Grand-Théâtre in Bordeaux, the largest theatre in pre-Revolutionary France. With its impressive colonnade of 12 huge Corinthian columns and its elegant Neoclassical vestibule and symmetrical staircase lit by a glass dome, this building became the model for subsequent French theatre buildings and was the prototype for Charles Garnier's Paris Opera House.

Among Louis's patrons were the Duke of Richelieu, Governor of Guyenne and Stanislaw Poniatowski, King of Poland. Louis designed decorations, possibly for festivals.