Jean Rondelet


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The Architect as Technician

Robin Middleton and Marie-Nöelle Baudouin-Matuszek

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Jean Rondelet took up his career in 1770, working for Jacques-Germain Soufflot, the architect of the most conspicuous and structurally daring church of the period, now known as the Pantheon in Paris. Rondelet assumed the role of technical expert, taking on more and more control not only of the structural design but of the site organization as well. The church became a focus of acrimonious debate among architects and engineers when faults in the structure threatened a total collapse of the dome. Rondelet emerged, not quite the victor, but the man commissioned to ensure structural stability.

This book, the first devoted to Rondelet, tells the story of the most celebrated architectural debate of the century. It also examines Rondelet's career in full, his publications, and his long-lasting influence on the training of architects and the administration of architectural practice in France. More than any other architect, Rondelet represents the era of change during which the foundations for modern architectural theory and practice were laid.


Robin Middleton is emeritus professor, Columbia University. Marie-Nöelle Baudouin-Matuszek is an archivist at the Centre nationale de la recherche scientifique.

"There is something almost joyous in the purity of this work of meticulous, original research."  - Clive Aslet, Sunday Telegraph

"[The] first full-length and rigorously documented study of the extraordinary French architect, writer, and teacher [Rondolet]. . . . Illustrations, floor plans, and photos are superbly reproduced and well integrated into the narrative. . . . Essential for architecture and engineering collections as well as for most academic libraries."—Library Journal
ISBN: 9780300115673
Publication Date: September 4, 2007
368 pages, 9 1/2 x 11 1/4
150 b/w + 100 color illus.