Camus de Mézières, Nicolas Le

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Camus de Mézières, Nicolas Le (1721–89). French architect of the huge circular Halle au Blé, Paris (1763–7), and author of Le Génie de l'architecture; ou, l'analogie de cet art avec nos sensations (The Nature of Architecture; or, the Analogy of that Art with our Feelings—1780) in which the new idea that architecture should be pleasing to the senses and induce elevating impressions on the heart and mind was floated. This led to the notion of architecture parlante adopted by Boullée and others, and to the belief that architectural character can be created by the mysterious effects of light, a notion taken up by many important architects, not least Soane. He also published Le Guide de ceux qui veulent bâtir (Handbook for those Wishing to Build—1781) and Traité de la force des bois (Treatise on the Strength of Timber—1782). His namesake, Louis-Denis Le Camus, (fl. 1742–75) designed the Chinoiserie tower or pagoda in the gardens of the chateau at Chanteloup (1775–8), and also the Colisée, Champs-Elysées, Paris (1769–71), a vast and complex building, with a huge dome in which spectacular lighting effects were achieved.


Camus de Mézières (1780);
Middleton & and Watkin (1987);
M&T (1991)