A Civic Utopia: Architecture and the City in France, 1765-1837

8 October 2016 – 8 January 2017

This exhibition considered the place of architecture in establishing the notion of public life. It brings together an outstanding selection of architectural drawings of public building and public space in France that pursued the Enlightenment idea of a ‘scientific’ city, expressing rational, hygienic and symbolic expressions of an ideal civic life.

Focusing on the spaces of everyday life rather than grand and largely unbuilt urban schemes, the display featured drawings for a wide range of new public buildings and settings, including city markets, exchange halls, prisons, parks, abattoirs, hospitals and cemeteries.

This exhibition was organised by Drawing Matter Trust in collaboration with The Courtauld Gallery as part of UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, Somerset House’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia. It was curated by Nicholas Olsberg and Basile Baudez

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