Moralizing Utopia: The Virtues of Collectivity and Happiness in Ledoux's Ideal City of Chaux
Abstract: In 1802, French architect Claude Nicolas Ledoux published L'Architecture considerée sous le rapport de l'art, des moeurs, et de la législation, a five-volume text that documented the architect's realized and conceptual architectural designs. In the first volume of L'Architecture, Ledoux imagines an ideal city in the Forest of Chaux with a complete architectural program and cultural life ... read morebased on his realized project for the Royal Saltworks in Arc-et-Senans. In addition to the litany of building types developed for his utopian town, Ledoux crafted a comprehensive prospectus for the lifestyle of Chaux's inhabitants, including working conditions, quality of education, and leisurely activities, which was then interpreted into his designs. The finalized utopian project, documented in writing and engravings, is the result of three developmental phases over nearly thirty years. This thesis is driven by what it may mean to speculate on the themes of collectivity and happiness as articulated by Ledoux in the first volume of L'Architecture. By parsing out the mechanics of Rousseauian moral philosophy in the ideal city's civic institutions, I interpret how the moral code institutes collectivity and happiness in Chaux. I argue that morality is enforced by the ideological unification of the collective and virtue's reward of eternal happiness. I achieve this by considering Ledoux's ideal city, within the literary context of late eighteenth-century writing, as a solution rooted in Rousseauian ideology to the problems of city planning caused by moral ambiguity, overpopulation, overtaxation, and exaggerated class divides and the unstable economy in the last decades of the eighteenth century.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2016.
Submitted to the Dept. of Art and Art History.
Advisor: Daniel Abramson.
Committee: Andrew McClellan, and Erika Naginski.
Keywords: Architecture, and Art history.read less