Architecture in the Era of Napoleon III
During a time of industrial change and cultural advancement, Paris became the new home for many, overcrowding the ancient districts and spreading disease. The city, which had been untouched since the Middle Ages, was in dire need of reflecting the new modern ways and putting an end to the spreading medical epidemics. The tight confines of Medieval Paris were hindering the citys potential for growth and desire to transform into a well-organized urban center. Napoleon III set about bringing order and structure to the chaotic, cramped city and putting an end to its' identity crisis. Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann, chosen by Napoleon III to lead the project, created new roads, public parks, public monuments, as well as installing new sewers and changing the architectural faade of the city. With the aid of the public, Modernist Napoleon III set out to undertake one of the largest urban transformations since the burning of London in 1666.
Louis Napoleon III, who became emperor in 1852, had a great deal of interest in developing Paris into a new modern city after the Industrial Revolution. Napoleon had a keen interest in architecture and could often be found modifying the blueprints of Paris to include the roads that he wanted to construct. This interest in modifying the layout of the city would manifest itself into a project that would encompass all aspects of urban planning, from streets to sewers, and completely change the shape of Paris as everyone knew it. As stated by Anthony Sutcilffe in his book Paris: An Architectural History, the project coincided with the first surge of French industrialization, beginning in the 1840s and lasting until the Great Depression of the 1870s. 1 The Second French Empire, ruled by Napoleon III, had complete control over the country, and he set out to begin construction on his plan that would bring Paris into the modern era and establish its dominance as a western city. With the induction of Baron Georges Haussmann as prefect of the Seine, Napoleon had an ally in the government to carry out the modernization. While neither one...