The Rise of Academic Architectural Education: The origins and enduring influence of the Académie d’Architecture, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Rise of Academic Architectural Education

The origins and enduring influence of the Académie d’Architecture, 1st Edition

By Alexander Griffin


232 pages | 29 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138562271
pub: 2019-07-29
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Academic architectural education started with the inauguration of the Académie d'Architecture on the 3rd December 1671 in France. It was the first institution to be devoted solely to the study of architecture, and its school was the first dedicated to the explicit training of architectural students. The Académie was abolished in 1793, during the revolutionary turmoil that besieged France at the end of the eighteenth century, although the architectural educational tradition that arose from it was resurrected with the formation of the École des Beaux-Arts and prevails in the ideologies and activities of schools of architecture throughout the world today.

This book traces the previously neglected history of the Académie’s development and its enduring influence on subsequent architectural schools throughout the following centuries to the present day. Providing a valuable context for current discussions in architectural education, The Rise of Academic Architectural Education is a useful resource for students and researchers interested in the history and theory of art and architecture.


Architectural education holds an established place in universities throughout the globe and enjoys a clear and productive relationship with the professional practice of architecture. It has grown to become a rich and diverse discipline in which instruction in subjects ranging from the technologies of building to the history and theories of architecture sits alongside the central activity of the design studio. Alex Griffin’s study of the first formal school of architecture, the Académie Royale d’Architecture (1671-1793), offers the first detailed account of that institution and its relation to the architectural and political events of pre-revolutionary France, but also provides an invaluable historical perspective from which to view the scope and practices of education in the twenty first century.

Dean Hawkes, Emeritus Professor, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University and Emeritus Fellow, Darwin College, University of Cambridge, UK

In this original and scholarly work, Dr Alex Griffin has written the first account of the Académie Royale d’Architecture in 17th and 18th century Paris, the first school of architecture that adopted a formal educational curriculum. The work is unique in contextualising the development of architectural education at a time of significant cultural change, during the Enlightenment period when architecture was immersed in scientific and artistic debates about the veracity and universality of the classical canon. In addition to providing historical commentary on the academy itself and its membership, Dr Griffin’s book is also of value in exploring the often-nuanced philosophical disputes that surrounded the issue of architectural ‘style’, and how this was manifested in design work. Such debates provided a useful theoretical resource for design entries to the Grand-prix competition that facilitated the creation of an elite group of architectural practitioners and theoreticians. Besides being an important historical investigation, Alex Griffin’s book is also instructive in prompting critical reflection on contemporary architectural education, giving scope to a much-needed debate about the future of the architectural profession in an age of radical change and uncertainty.

Nicholas Temple, Professor of Architecture, University of Huddersfield, UK

Table of Contents



  1. The origins of academic education
  2. The formation of the Académie d'Architecture
  3. The Académie’s early ideology
  4. The school at the Académie
  5. Philosophical and stylistic debate on architectural style
  6. The professional expression of the Académie’s ideology
  7. The suppression of the Académie
  8. The revival of the former Académie
  9. The enduring influence of the academic tradition at the École

Appendix 1: Salient institutional titles associated with academic architectural education in Paris

Appendix 2: Membres of the Académie d'Architecture

Appendix 3: Winners of the Grand prix competitions

List of figures


About the Author

Alexander Griffin was educated at the University of Huddesfield, Liverpool John Moores University, and the University of Sheffield. He currently works in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield, and is the founder of Oblong Architecture, an RIBA award winning practice. Alexander, and his wife Karen, also lead Sheffield Vineyard Church.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Architectural History

Books in this series look in detail at aspects of architectural history from an academic viewpoint.  Written by international experts, the volumes cover a range of topics from the origins of building types, the relationship of architectural designs to their sites, explorations of the works of specific architects, to the development of tools and design processes, and beyond.  Written for the researcher and scholar, we are looking for innovative research to join our publications in architectural history.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / History / Renaissance
ARCHITECTURE / History / Romanticism