VAUDOYER, Antoine-Laurent-Thomas
(b. 1756, Paris, d. 1846, Paris)

Biography

French architect. He was a student at the Ecole Royale d'Architecture and a student of Antoine-François Peyre (1739-1823), whose office was from the late 1770s one of the most engaged in promoting architectural Neo-classicism. Vaudoyer won the Prix de Rome in 1783 and spent the years 1784-88 at the Académie de France in Rome. He explored the limits of symbolism and pure geometric form in architecture in a series of private sketches, most notably in his famous design for a Maison d'un cosmopolite, which, in the spirit of Boullée's famous design for a cenotaph to Newton, was designed in the form of a sphere, or globe, unadorned except for the patterns of the constellations pierced in its surface to light the interior spaces.

Vaudoyer had begun teaching shortly after his return from Rome when, taking advantage of a liberalization of admission to the Académie's architectural school that permitted some unsponsored pupils to participate in academic competitions, he opened the first atelier libre. This was the prototype for the teaching ateliers that became the lynchpin of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Vaudoyer's atelier, shared with his nephew Louis-Hippolyte Lebas after 1819 and taken over by his son Léon Vaudoyer in 1832, remained one of the most prominent throughout the first half of the century; it produced a first or second Grand Prix every year between 1824 and 1830, during which period it became a seedbed of the Romantic movement in architecture.

Although Vaudoyer undertook considerable private work, mostly interiors, his mark was made principally as an administrator and teacher, and here his importance for the first two generations of 19th-century academic architects in France was enormous.

His son, Léon, was also an architect, whose greatest work is considered to be the Cathedral at Marseille.