Mesurer le bâti parisien à l'époque moderne

Abstract : Measuring buildings is a traditional task for builders of all sorts, be they masons, architects, or engineers. In the late 17th century, royal institutions and guilds decided to tackle misuses of measurements used to assess buildings, and thus increase control of construction costs. The toisé, that is to say a measurement using an instrument called the toise, was to be transformed into science and therefore had to be regulated. This was the subject that the architects of the Royal Academy, such as Pierre Bullet, had been debating since the beginning of the 18th century. They had to choose between two methods practised by masons: ‘‘la toise bout-avant sans retour’’ (a sort of measurement that did not consider irregular or decorative elements) or the method ‘‘according to the Customs of Paris’’ – or even to create a more efficient technique. The second method, which was favourable to architects, would be normalised by the academic teaching from Antoine Desgodets’ courses and by the transformation of the status of surveyors, which shows very clearly the political and legal stakes raised by this question. The professor of the Academy would have preferred to reform the building measurement methods completely through the use of geometric tools, but he was not allowed to do so. Such a complete overhaul would not occur until the early 19th century.
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Journal articles
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Submitted on : Monday, November 27, 2017 - 10:08:58 AM
Last modification on : Monday, August 20, 2018 - 2:04:46 PM

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Robert Carvais. Mesurer le bâti parisien à l'époque moderne. Histoire urbaine, Société française d'histoire urbaine (SFHU), 2015, pp.31--53. ⟨10.3917/rhu.043.0031⟩. ⟨hal-01648868⟩

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