French Jesuit, he became one of the earliest and most important theorists of Neo-Classicism. His Essai sur l'Architecture (1753) was profoundly influential, setting out a rational interpretation of Classicism as a logical, straightforward expression of the need for shelter, derived from the Primitive Hut of tree-trunks supporting a structure. He extolled the need for columns as opposed to those of the engaged variety or pilasters, and argued for a return to Antique principles as an antidote to all the accretions from the Renaissance period onwards that had hidden the essence of the origins of columnar and trabeated construction. The immediate influence of his views was on Soufflot, but translations into English and German carried them throughout Europe. In his Observations sur l'Architecture (1765) he recognized the grace of Gothic.
Builder (1980);Fichet (ed.) (1979);Herrmann (1962);Laugier (1753, 1753a, 1765);Middleton & Watkin (1987);Placzek (ed.) (1982);Rykwert (1980)