Basile Baudez

Assistant Professor of Art and Archaeology; George H. and Mildred F. Whitfield Preceptor in the Humanities Architectural History


(609) 258-3789


2S-6A Green Hall


Ph.D., Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, 2006; MA, Ecole nationale des Chartes, Paris

Basile Baudez specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European architecture. Focusing on the role of architecture in politics and society, his latest research investigates the ways in which textile elements shape our understanding of urban space. His first book Architecture et Tradition Académique au Siècle des Lumières (2012) questions the nature of the relationship between political bodies and architects in early-modern European academies. His co-edited volume Chalgrin. Architectes et Architecture entre l’Ancien Régime et l’Empire(2016) considers the impact of the French Revolution on a generation of neo-classical, European architects. He has curated exhibitions on architectural drawings at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. His latest book, Inessential Colors: Architecture on Paper in Early Modern Europe (Princeton University Press, 2021) questions the role of color in Western architectural representation from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century under the concepts of imitation, convention, and affect. He argues that color is only used by architects at moments when their trade comes closer to either the cartographic world of engineers or the picturesque realm of painters.

Currently, Baudez is working on his next book, tentatively entitled Fabric and the City: Textile in Eighteenth-Century Venice. Based on visual, literary, and archival material, this book aims to dress a model of reading soft architecture as a sign of resistance against the intrusion of the State in the private lives of its citizens. This book takes on the assumption that most textile elements that are seen in an urban context – carpets on balconies, curtains and awnings, market stalls, flags, parasols, and garments worn outside of homes – help to blur the rigid boundaries between private and public space.

Baudez joined Princeton’s faculty in 2018. Previously, he was assistant professor of architectural history at the Paris-Sorbonne University. He has also served as visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Pratt Institute. His research has been supported by grants from the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts (CASVA), the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and the Getty Research Institute.

Teaching Interests

Baudez’s teaching interests include architectural draftsmanship, the professionalization of building trades, the history of artistic education, the architecture of confinement, the conflict between engineers and architects in Europe and its colonies and the dynamic between textile and architecture. More broadly, he is interested in advising students in the field of European and Colonial 18th-and 19th century architecture and in the history of architectural preservation.

Selected Publications

Inessential Colors: Architecture on Paper in Early Modern Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2021).

“The Beaux-Arts Tradition,” with M. Cassidy-Geiger. In Living with Architecture as Art. The Peter May Collection of Architectural Drawings, Models, and Artifacts (New York: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2020).

“International Style, National Manners: Drawing Architecture in Paris and Rome around 1810.” Boletín de la Academia de San Jordi XXXIII (2019).

A Civic Utopia. Architecture and the City in France, 1765-1837, with N. Olsberg (London: Drawing Matter, 2016).

“A Palace for Louis XVI: Jean-Augustin Renard at Rambouillet,” Metropolitan Museum Journal 51, (Dec. 2016).

Ed. Chalgrin. Architectes et architecture entre l’Ancien Régime et l’Empire, with. D. Massounie (Bordeaux: Blake, 2016).

Architecture et tradition académique au siècle des Lumières (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2012).

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