French Architecture (limit of two per day)

All French architecture is acceptable for submission.

M. Gustave Eiffel

Peter Reid Peter Reid 148 posts

I feel that the time has come for me to offer some explanation of my feelings about French Architecture and my take on M. Eiffel in particular. I have, in the past, written to several Artists explaining that although Eiffel’s skills as an Engineer are world renowned, he was not an Architect.

Among his more notable accomplishments are:

  1. The Statue of Liberty
  2. The Porto Bridge
  3. The Nice Observatory
  4. The Garabit Viaduct
  5. The Panama Locks
  6. The Garonne Bridge at Bastide station
  7. The Nive Bridge
  8. Agen Train Station
  9. Bordeaux Train Station
  10. The Capdenac Bridges
  11. La Sioule Viaduct
  12. The Thonet Viaduct
  13. The Vecchio Bridge

and, of course, his ubiquitous Tower.

In 1865 he was commissioned by Jean-Baptiste Kranz to study the resistance (presumably wind) of the metallic arches which would be used in the construction of the (480 × 370m) Palace at the Exposition of 1889. This was the only piece of theoretical work that Eiffel is known to have carried out, he much preferred the ‘hands on’ approach. The tower itself was inaugurated 6th May 1889.

He was heavily involved with engineering contracts for the French railways, which would later become SNCF, and by the year 1881 this work had facilitated an expansion of the French rail network from some 500km to more than 27000km giving an unimaginable boost to the economy.

Yes, in many instances his work was controversial, perhaps because, as an Engineer he was daring and imaginative. You should note that in France an Engineer is legally required to hold professional qualifications and in return is accorded substantial status.

For me The Eiffel Tower is the very essence of French culture. It is the classic iconical example of a nation’s identity; it is the epitome of engineering excellence but I have yet to be convinced that it is representative of French architecture.

artisandelimage artisandelimage 850 posts

I totally agree with your point of view. the eiffel tower is not architecture.
my best, francis.

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