Jean-Rodolphe Perronet


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French architect and military engineer. In 1745 he rebuilt the choir of the Cathedral of Alençon, and in 1747 was appointed Director of the École des Ponts et Chaussées where engineers and architects were instructed in bridge-, embankment-, and road-construction. He is important because he developed bridge-design in which each arch thrust against its neighbour, enabling spans to be increased, arches flattened, and structures lightened, essentially a principle of Gothic design. His theories influenced Telford, among others. He designed Pont de Mantes (over the Seine—1757–65), Pont de Château-Thierry (over the Marne—1765–86), Pont de Neuilly, Paris (over the Seine—1768–74), Pont des Fontaines, Chantilly (1770–1), the Pont de Sainte-Maxence, Oise (over the Oise—1771–86—destroyed), Pont Biais, near Lagny (over the Bicheret—1775), the Ponts de Brunoy and de Rozoy (over the Yères—1785–7), and the Pont Louis Seize (now Concorde—over the Seine in Paris—1787–91). He also designed the Canal de Bourgogne (1775–1832). He wrote Description des projets et de la construction des ponts de Neuilly, de Mantes, d'Orléans et autres (Description of Projects and of the Construction of the Bridges of Neuilly, Mantes, Orléans, and others—1782–3). He was a champion of Soufflot and his ideas, so is a founding-father of Neo-Classicism. With his pupil, Émiliand-Marie Gauthey (1732–1808), he sought the best building-stones in France, subjecting them to scientific tests to ensure the Church of Ste-Geneviève would be structurally stable. Perronet is therefore of great importance in the development of structural theory, experiment, and calculations.

Lesage (1806);Middleton & Watkin (1987);Riche de Prony (1829);Jane Turner (1996)

Subjects: Architecture.

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