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Etienne Louis Boullée: The Latest Architecture and News

Studying the "Manual of Section": Architecture's Most Intriguing Drawing

For Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki and David J. Lewis, the section “is often understood as a reductive drawing type, produced at the end of the design process to depict structural and material conditions in service of the construction contract.” A definition that will be familiar to most of those who have studied or worked in architecture at some point. We often think primarily of the plan, for it allows us to embrace the programmatic expectations of a project and provide a summary of the various functions required. In the modern age, digital modelling software programs offer ever more possibilities when it comes to creating complex three dimensional objects, making the section even more of an afterthought.

With their Manual of Section (2016), the three founding partners of LTL architects engage with section as an essential tool of architectural design, and let’s admit it, this reading might change your mind on the topic. For the co-authors, “thinking and designing through section requires the building of a discourse about section, recognizing it as a site of intervention.” Perhaps, indeed, we need to understand the capabilities of section drawings both to use them more efficiently and to enjoy doing so.

Bagsværd Church by Jørn Utzon (1976). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier (1954). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects United States Pavilion at Expo '67 by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao (1967). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright (1959). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects + 15

Explore Boullée's Unrealized World Through Film "Lux in Tenebris"

Etienne-Louis Boullée, though regarded as one of the most visionary and influential architects in French neoclassicism, saw none of his most extraordinary designs come to life. Throughout the late 1700s Boullée taught, theorized, and practiced architecture in a characteristic style consisting of geometric forms on an enormous scale, an excision of unnecessary ornamentation, and repetition of columns and other similar elements.

Society for Atheistic Spirituality to Construct Etienne-Louis Boullée's Cenotaph for Newton

Update: As many readers guessed, this story is of course a prank for April Fools' day. Thanks to everyone who played along, and a particular thanks to the seven readers (we won't name any names!) who were convinced enough to email their expressions of interest. Your optimism and ambition are admirable, and we're glad that you were able to take the joke in good humor. To anyone who dared to believe this story and had their heart broken: we're sorry!

Last week, a little-known charity known as the Society for Atheistic Spirituality (SAS) announced a proposal which is sure to put them very much on the map: they plan to build Etienne-Louis Boullée's design for a Cenotaph for Newton. The cenotaph, designed in the late 18th century as part of Boullée's Architecture, essai sur l’art, is a sublime homage to the enlightenment thinking of Sir Isaac Newton, making it a perfect fit for the Society for Atheistic Spirituality's mission to "endorse a rational understanding of our universe without abandoning the sense of wonder that makes life worth living."

Though the plans are very much in their early stages - and in spite of the fact that the cenotaph was never really designed to be built in real life - the society is serious about their proposal, having earmarked a $500 million donation from a single donor, and are working to establish a "world class" team to realize the design. To find out more about their plan, ArchDaily spoke exclusively to the society's director Zara Thustra, their construction projects leader Sidney Syfus, and their half-billion dollar donor, Dr Pang Luz. Read on after the break for the full interview.

Etienne-Louis Boullée's design for the Cenotaph for Newton. Interior night effect. Image © Bibliothèque Nationale de France Etienne-Louis Boullée's design for the Cenotaph for Newton. Section, during the day with interior night effect. Image © Bibliothèque Nationale de France Etienne-Louis Boullée's design for the Cenotaph for Newton. Split plan showing interior and from above. Image © Bibliothèque Nationale de France Etienne-Louis Boullée's design for the Cenotaph for Newton. Section, at night with interior day effect. Image © Bibliothèque Nationale de France + 6