atypical atemporal otherness continuum


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Pierre Patte

Monuments érigés en France à la gloire de Louis XV

Pierre Patte, Key Plan of the Monumens eriges en France a la gloire de Louis XV, (1765).
The outburst of plaza design connected with the erection of the monument for Louis XV in Paris can be studied in the wonderfully illustrated book written by Pierre Patte (1723-1814), architect of the duke of Zweibruecken, and published in Paris 1765, under the title: 'Monumens eriges en France a la gloire de Louis XV". This collection of plans is so important and of such fundamental value that it seems surprising how little it was appreciated or even known, until Robert Bruck recently (in 1908) emphasized its importance. Many esthetic blunders in city planning would have been avoided if the great body of French thought represented in Patte's book had found more serious students among civic designers
Werner Hagemann & Elbert Peets, The American Vitruvius: An Architects' Handbook of Civic Art (New York: 1922), p. 67.

Patte's composite plan of the many discrete and diverse design alternatives for an 18th century urban square housing an equestrian statue of Louis XV is nothing less than a virtual Paris, a Paris based on both fact and fancy, yet also a Paris ripe with potential. By utilizing the simple and direct concepts of inclusion and overlay, Patte has, with relative ease, transformed a Paris of extreme density into a new urban paradigm based on a multitude of open spaces, more light and air, etc.
Moreover, the simultaneous grouping of all the designs into the then existing Parisian contexts extends the idea of this particular "virtual city" to also being a virtual museum of mid-18th century French urban planning.
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