LEDOUX, Claude-Nicolas
(b. 1736, Dormans, d. 1806, Paris)

Exterior view

1775-79
Photo
Saline Royale, Arc-et-Senans (Doubs)

Although constructed under quite different political conditions, the planned workers' city inside the Arc-et-Senans saltworks provided a foretaste of the architecture of the Revolution. Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, a theoretician with sociopolitical ambitions, planned an ideal city in an elliptical design combining a patrician scheme - the manager's house was centrally located - with a moralistic utopia. While the overall concept tended towards the traditional, Ledoux provided individual buildings with features that were extremely progressive. Brewing houses decorated with simulated stalactites, the workshop of a tire maker designed in the form of a disk with concentric rings, and undecorated cubic forms embodying abstract concepts were typical of his work here. Ledoux uninhibitedly deployed a full architectural repertoire drawn from history and fantasy, with a freedom which was unusual for its day.

The picture shows the administrative pavilion in the centre of the complex.