DELAMAIR, Pierre-Alexis
(b. ca. 1676, Paris, d. 1745, Châtenay-Malabry)

General plans of Hôtel de Soubise and Hôtel de Rohan

Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

At the age of 28 Delamair was brought to prominence by Cardinal de Rohan, Chief Almoner of France, who recommended him to his parents, the Prince and Princess of Soubise, for the most important architectural project of the time: the design of the Hôtel de Soubise in the Marais district of Paris (now the Archives Nationales). The former Hôtel de Guise was to be transformed into a princely residence, and the stroke of genius was Delamair's use of the old riding school as the cour d'honneur, surrounded on three sides by a colonnade of coupled composite columns that sweeps round in a curve behind the screen wall to the street, while at the other end of the court the motif of coupled columns is carried across the façade of the house, thereby achieving a closely interrelated composition. At the same time, Cardinal de Rohan commissioned Delamair to design a new town house at the end of the garden that extended in front of the main façade of the Hôtel de Soubise. Beginning in 1705, Delamair erected a vast building of 13 bays, with a central columned frontispiece. On the side of the Rue Vieille-du-Temple this was linked to service wings, which bounded a cour d'honneur that ended in a semicircle. Delamair also produced designs for the interior layouts of the two hôtels, for the staircases and for the decoration of the appartements.

The engraving shows the general plan of the Hôtel de Soubise (left side) and Hôtel de Rohan (right side).