Need help identifying a building drawing! Please!


any idea what this building is? it looks like it was never built! 

May 19, 12 10:58 am
Justin Ather Maud

Étienne-Louis Boullée.  Newton's Cenotaph. (proposed, never built).

May 19, 12 11:12 am

Thank You so much!! i really needed to know that for an assignment :) 

May 19, 12 9:22 pm

That was pathetic, really. There's no hope for the younger generation.

May 19, 12 9:38 pm

wasn't t this covered in one of your architecture history classes?

May 19, 12 9:42 pm

Damn!  Time to watch Belly of an Architect.

May 19, 12 11:25 pm


"That was pathetic, really. There's no hope for the younger generation"

May 20, 12 2:13 am

but every generation says that ..

May 20, 12 12:07 pm
Justin Ather Maud

Anything directed by Peter Greenaway would be fine viewing!

May 20, 12 2:12 pm
Justin Ather Maud



It's been a few years since I've viewed that project, but even I had to Google "French Cenotaphs" to get Boullee's name back in my head. 


I'm not all that computer savvy, but I think I nailed a response within seven minutes of this query being posted.

May 20, 12 2:16 pm
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I'm trying to find out who did this design for "improvements to the Palace of Versailles"?


May 20, 12 4:03 pm


possibly Pierre François Léonard Fontaine?

May 20, 12 11:20 pm

the real question though is this; how does this individual know where to find the image, and then post said image, but doesn't know the architect? steven is on point though; youth is wasted on the wrong people.

May 21, 12 12:12 am
chatter of clouds

the "youth" are not exclusively their own consequence

May 21, 12 3:50 am

who cares if this kid is lazy?  the way arch history is taught is lazy.   I keep thinking that it would be far more useful for students to learn about the histories of settlement (and economics of the built environment), building types, and construction methods than it is to only memorize rather disconnected (aside from their place on the timeline) architects, names, and dates of "famous" houses and temples.

May 21, 12 9:47 am

laziness is not get this kid to digest topics you suggest, especially since those topics require in depth research and analysis. this, is basic shit, we're visual people right? then this kid should just spend the time to acquire a rote level of appreciation for a basic foundation in a life long pursuit.

not dismissing your concerns, but i don't think this person has the ability to get into what you think is important.

May 21, 12 10:46 am
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calculator, thank you, but I'm sure it is not a Fontaine design. My grand-daughter is currently writing her PhD dissertation on the obscure works of Fontaine, and she assures me that the Versailles redesign is not by Fontaine. Moreover, the drawing is dated 1783 (when Fontaine was just 21). There is a strange (almost cryptic) script on the back of the jpeg:

"Dated 1783, the renovation of the Palace of Versailles was commissioned by Louis XVI replied that [pixelated] and several of his colleagues. The general distribution of the Palace is the subject of a very thorough discussion. She asked, according [pixelated], "a great step, especially free and noble. ” "The" Returns "or detours within the apartments are avoided and the path that follows a concerted progress, should provide a vivid demonstration of royal grandeur:" This is after covering a multitude of large rooms filled with most brilliant productions of art, the viewer, who expects nothing more beautiful, just to discover a place so superior to everything he saw, he is amazed and filled with admiration of his greatness and its magnificence. "

b3tadine[sutures], the image was sent to me via anonymous email with the message: "You think you're so smart. I b3t you don't even know who designed this. You're just an old fart."

Surely someone here can help me!


May 21, 12 11:06 am

history, in my initial posting, i was referring to the starter of this thread.

May 21, 12 11:37 am

history repeat... The plan you posted is by Étienne-Louis Boullée as well.

May 21, 12 11:50 am
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Oh my goodness! What a coincidence! Asking about an identification within a thread where the original answer is Boullée, and then the second answer is also Boullée! How could I have not already guessed the correct answer myself?!? And what makes this even more embarrassing for me is that I am a direct (sic--from the illegitimate side of the family) descendent of Étienne-Louis Boullée--I even have his exact nose! So you could even say the answer was right in front of me the whole time! Oh the ignominy!!!

What would the world of architecture do without all the so-smart people here at archinect forum???


May 21, 12 12:24 pm

Boullee's unbuit design for versailles was later used as a model for the Pella Palace by Ivan Starov.  This may help your research. 

May 21, 12 12:52 pm

beta - the OP's question was an identification question. If the question were about context (and sounded an awful-lot like the assignment question) then I'd be concerned.  They even understood that it wasn't built!  If the OP had never seen that image before - how the hell are they going to be able to look it up in the first place?  Maybe they don't know about tineye?

May 21, 12 12:56 pm

@history - obviously intelligence is based purely on accumulation of bits of information, recalling random facts, and knowing lots of industry and academic jargon.


oh - and asking for information online (in order to help you understand context - which neither you or the OP is asking for anyone to do your thinking for you) is "pathetic."  I'll remember that the next time I call the storefront rep and ask him to send me "information" on sill receptors.  He'll probably say that I'm pathetic and I should have learned what sill receptors look like in my building systems class.

May 21, 12 1:10 pm
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Thanks jla-x, the Pella Palace and its connection to the Versailles design by Boullée is actually something that I did not know of before today. I've known of the Boullée Versailles design for maybe like five years now--soon after Susan Surface (here at archinect forum) posted a link to the Lequeu collection at the French library website--I looked to see what else architectural was within the French library website and found all the Boullée drawings. The Versailles redesign was a project I've never seen before (I own several books on Boullée), and thus found it to be most intriguing. I posted it here, in this specific thread, to see if anyone might spontaneously (ie, without a web search) know the design. A game within a game, you might say. Viva homo ludens!


May 21, 12 2:25 pm

clearly its from a powerpoint with a billion images a professor quickly flipped through.  been there.

next time:

1)  go to google images

2) drag the image into the search bar

3)  it will tell you what it is

BOOM!  wish i didn't find that out AFTER graduating.

May 21, 12 2:44 pm

toaster, if the person never saw the image before, then how did they get it? here, let me answer with my own idea; perhaps the assignment was an electronic hand-out? due89, and steven are highlighting my point though; knowing how to find the answer is as important, if not more so, than knowing the answer.

May 21, 12 4:12 pm

the ability to outsource those last minute questions to the world is pretty cool

that the answers also read like woody alan dream sequence is bonus.


google image search function is less fun, but faster and totally guilt free

May 21, 12 4:20 pm

This is why I carry flashcards of every important piece of architecture in my wallet.

Joking aside, I can think of at least 3 books on my shelf right now that I could probably thumb through and find the exact same image the OP posted in less than a minute or two.

But I also agree with b3tadine's question, how can you look up and post the image without finding out who the architect is. Wait, I think we just helped someone cheat on their on-line architectural history quiz.

May 21, 12 7:34 pm
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Brian, care to name those (at least) three books?


May 21, 12 8:03 pm

Challenge Accepted! I'm not home right now so I don't have my books to actually verify that the image would be in any of these but I'm pretty sure you could find it in one of these if not more.

First, A World History of Architecture. I'm 90% sure it would be in there, but if not then...

Second, A Global History of Architecture. I'm not as familiar with this book so I'm not as sure that it would be in there.

Finally, Sources of Architectural Form. This would probably be my final effort and if I didn't find it in there I'd start looking up descriptions of the building in Google image search.

May 21, 12 8:43 pm

Google image search: "large sphere unbuilt architecture" shows up near the end of page one. But even that is unecessary, turns out regular google is even better, here, first result.

May 21, 12 8:48 pm

This link is better

May 21, 12 8:58 pm

genius, brian, genius. why do i get the sneaking suspicion that history is known entity on this site. as if that wasn't cryptic enough...

May 21, 12 9:52 pm

lol brian.

May 21, 12 10:59 pm

I got home and decided to see if I was as good with my books as I was with Google. Turns out I don't own A Global History of Architecture, I was borrowing if for a time but I don't have access to it now, so someone else will have to check that one. As for the others; in A World History of Architecture (1st Edition), it's on page 406, and in Sources of Architectural Form it fills up the top half of page 172.

Before you all start pointing fingers and complaining that I only had two books on my shelves that feature the project, I found the best presentation of it in Jonathan Glancey's Lost Buildings, pages 226-229. See the spreads here and here. If those links don't work try right clicking and selecting to open in new tab / window.

May 22, 12 1:25 am
Alexander Roslin

@ Priceless painting

*I'm trying to find out who did this design for "improvements to the Palace of Versailles"?*

These proposed improvements had been designed in 1780 by Ètienne-Louis Boullée too.

Here the new cour d'honneur


Aug 26, 13 1:23 am
Alexander Roslin

Oh, excuse me. I should have better read the following postings before answering.

Never mind.

Here is one of the rare depictions of Pella Palace (by Giacomo Quarenghi, source:

Aug 26, 13 1:34 am
Alexander Roslin

Pella's ground plan


The main wing of the Pella Palace 

Aug 26, 13 1:43 am

hiii everyone that epic pic which you have posted is never been constructed that was just imagination

builder in bhopal

Aug 26, 13 7:15 am

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