(1777–1850). French architect. A pupil of Percier, he in turn became an important teacher of many architects who were destined to transform Paris under Haussmann. He was a controversial and overzealous restorer of historic buildings: he had worked on the basilica of St-Denis for many years when he started his dramatic transformation of the west front in 1839, adding details to the north tower unsupported by archaeology. When the tower began to collapse in 1846, Debret was dismissed, to the delight of those protagonists of the Gothic Revival who saw him as a reactionary in favour of academic Classicism. The disputes that raged at the time greatly promoted the cause of scholarly Gothic Revival in France, notably with the building of Ste-Clotilde, Paris (1846–57) by Gau and Ballu.
From A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Oxford Reference.