Chaux Lecture 4-5 Notes.docx

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Harvard University
History of Art and Architecture
History of Art and Architecture 11
Neil Levine

HAA11 Lectures 4/5: Ledoux’s Saltworks at Chaux, Northeast France Completed, then expanded and elaborated in fascinating ways, but only in the architect’s mind The saltworks are most interesting on paper How does architectural representation work: the orthographic sequence (plan, section, elevation, views)? Contrast between architectural landscape and the geometric outline of the town Elliptical shape diagram, set in the natural world Building used in social order Chaux is a utopia, the factoth did get built, but the town of Chaux around it never truly existed This is indicative of the 18 century reason, nature, and definition of human rights of the Enlightenment Ephemerality, impermanence; the saltworks are somewhat immaterial (on paper) Ledoux was a visionary architect, dealing with ideals on paper that often were not built Royal endorsement in 1773, construction began 2 years later It was the first modern factory, announcing the dawn of the Industrial Revolution The saltworks were built outside the Forest of Chaux Architects sketch and plan and then create During the Enlightenment though, real architecture prompted the imagined Production and Taxation of Salt: th Salt is an extremely precious commodity (18 century version of petroleum) It had a broader political role in France The farmer’s general (tax collectors) generated modern economics The infamous tax is the gabelle (salt tax), a very grievous tax that limited economic improvement for many individuals Each region had its own version of the salt tax, but some parts were exempt because they were bribed into joining the nation with the promise of no salt taxation The French Revolution led to the abolition of the salt tax, it was one of the reasons for the revolution Saltworks at Moyenvic were heavily fortified Deep wells, framed in wood, would house a chain system to go into the ground and pull out a salty mush mixture, which was then heated to evaporate water in order to get the salt Acarousel of horses would drive the pulley system in the well Salt production had environmental detriments: some salt would seep into arable land, making it unusable Ledoux believed that saltworks at the time presented a mass of discordant services and could use drastic design improvements The Evolution of Architectural Plans: Building program: identify what buildings are used for, what rooms’functions are Ledoux created production architecture, using an aqueduct to bring in water to the factory Ledoux’s first proposal called for a gate house entrance that extends into two arms (an apartment for the director and managers), then to the left a chapel with columns, on the other side a bakery, then to the outside left blocks that stood for workers’houses and gardens, to the right and outside, the blacksmiths and barrel-makers, and the in the back storage The square design of Ledoux was meant for a public space, a continuous perimeter around a center courtyard with a forecourt Moreover, the square design was meant to be an economic benefit: his methodical positioning of the saltworks’ building lends itself to control and better production The plan that Ledoux finalized, was his compromise between form and function, aesthetics and architectural use The design includes ten buildings, including outhouses, an entrance pavilion, the director’s house, spaces for production on either side, barrel-makers and blacksmiths and carpenters on either side, and the workers’abode to the right The dormitories each had a central hearth, rusticated geometry, a roof that is sloped but penetrated by 3 windows, and in the center of the 3 building structure a double-sloped roof that adds another story Vitruvius influenced Ledoux in addition to the Enlightenment attitudes that called for the respect of nature and better well-being for the workers Interestingly, the entrance building included prison cells, a place for law, a bakery The director’s stables were in the rear, symbolizing a separate and privileged access Ledoux’s plan demonstrates a specific utility and form Ledoux got his semicircular plan from the ancient Roman amphitheaters and theatres: thus the manufacturing of the salt was a type of art, meant to be displayed on stage The semicircle allowed for the appearance of visual control and security as well as Oscillates between two visions of the world: surveillance of labor in terms of the director’s house giving the director the ability to view the workers (government control over the individual) Gathers to a central point all the parts of which it is composed The Panopticon prison built later embodied many of Ledoux’s ideas: a central tower that enables guards to watch over the surrounding prison cells without the prisoners knowing whether they are being watched Economic theory of physiocracy, the first fully developed economic theory, influencedAdam Smith; it argued for a natural economy (government of nature) of the countryside as opposed to the urban abuses, moving from the city back to the rural land The products of the fertile earth are the real wealth one has, you are what you produce Salt as a natural resource is a perfect one for the transformation of the natural world
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