Louis-Auguste Boileau


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French architect, an early user of iron in the construction of churches, as at Mattaincourt (Vosges), where even the pews were of cast iron. His Church of St-Eugène, Paris (1854–5) has thin cast-iron columns, vault-ribs, and even tracery, which, to put it as kindly as possible, was a paraphrase of Gothic, and aroused the wrath of architectural critics such as Daly. This was followed by St-Paul, Montluçon (Allier), of 1864–9, which was First-Pointed in style, but nevertheless very spidery. He published La nouvelle forme architecturale (The New Architectural Form—1854), which illustrated an extraordinary iron church with a weird system of segmental ribs and arches piled up in a nightmarish debauch that mercifully was not realized. However, he warmed further to the theme in Les principes et exemples d'architecture ferronière (The Principles and Examples of Iron Architecture—1881), and indulged in further literary propaganda. With his son, Louis-Charles (1837–1910), he built the Magasins de Bon Marché, Paris (1867–1876), designed by Jean-Alexandre Laplanche (1839–1910). Louis-Charles Boileau's Church of Ste-Marguerite, Le Vésinet (Seine-et-Oise), of 1862–5, also had an iron frame and was in a spiky Gothic style, but the ‘masonry’ was of Coignet's patented clinker concrete, and an early type of reinforced concrete (also a Coignet patent) in the vaults. However, Boileau was soon to complain of water-penetration and poor adhesion, and the problem was probably caused by the use of clinker.

Behnisch & G. Hartung (1982);Hitchcock (1977);Marrey (1989);Marrey (ed.) (2002);Middleton & Watkin (1987);Jane Turner (1996)

Subjects: Architecture.

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