martes, 14 de febrero de 2012

Château de Maisons, Paris, France

The Château de Maisons was designed by François Mansart and built between 1630 and 1651. It is located in Parisian suburb of Maisons-Laffitte. According to a smear against Mansart, the architect reportedly razed the entire ground floor in the midst of construction, and decided to start over from scratch. The story is generally considered plausible given the reputation of the architect as uncompromising in his search for perfection. 

The stables, of which only a grotto now remains, were demolished in the 19th century.
The garden front is oriented to the southeast and looks upon the Seine. The château was originally surrounded by a dry moat.

The cour d’honneur is flanked by two short wings, each with a separate roof line from the main body. The roofline is further sub-divided by the central pavilion, which extends higher still. As such, both primary facades follow the symmetric three-fold division established by Lescot in the preceding century.  

The focus point on both sides of the building is the classical frontispiece stretching across three storeys. The orders are arranged correctly: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, the last of which belongs to the attic storey. Low relief sculpture is used throughout the composition, but sparingly overall. It is not by dramatic effect, but by subtle variations that the building achieves its striking effect. The different panes and columns are constantly recessed and projected, yet the façade seems relatively flat, and does not appear baroque in expression. Only the flank of the outer wings are curved.