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The Idea of a French Order. Ribart de Chamoust and the Questioning of Architectural Origins (2011-2012)

Field of study: History and theory of architecture, History and Theory of Art

In eighteenth-century classical theory, the notion of architectural order was formed by the gradual distillation of the vitruvian formula (genus), the Renaissance interpretations and debates of the Academy. Although present in Vitruvius, the possibility of the extension
of the canon of the five orders generates, during the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries, a long series comprising variants of a new order – the national order. In this context, the project of the architect Ribart de Chamoust, developed in his theoretical work of 1783, deals with a singular conception of French order that goes against the decorative remodelation of its predecessors and defines it as a constructive system. In addition, he imagines a possible  adaptation of the “primitive cabin” to the Cartesian rigor of the architectural order, by creating links with the Discourse of the Enlightenment on nature.

Keywords: order, ordinance, Ribart de Chamoust, Marc-Antoine Laugier, Claude Perrault, Vitruvius, origin, archetype, classical canon, tree-column.

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