Why does Lyon’s historic court have 24 columns?
par Nicola Zogra
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It is one of the emblematic monuments of ancient Lyon, impregnable from the Passerelle du Palais de Justice, coming from the Presqu’île.
Lyon’s historic Palace of Justice, built between 1835 and 1847, is known as the “Palace of 24 Columns” for the number of columns on its main facade.
Why 24 columns?
Leon called this building the neoclassical or empire architecture he envisioned Architect Louis Pierre Baltard “The palace with 24 columns.” If some believe that the number of columns has symbolism or a very specific meaning, then it actually has a primarily artistic and architectural function.
It has already happened that people lend these columns Interpretation 24 hours a day, which suggests the “temporal” foundations of justice. But this is not the case, as the palace only had approximately 22 columns.
Initial draft with six columns, then 20
According to the Lyon Municipal Library, in 1805, the project for a new courthouse submitted by Louis-Cécile Flacheron, an architect from Lyon, included columns with six columns under an arch.
The man behind the palace, Louis-Pierre Baltard, designed a classical foyer made up of six columns topped by a triangular base. The architect won a competition launched by the Ministry of the Interior, the City of Lyon and the Rhone Administration in 1827 to build a new Lyon Court.
As the final project, as we know it today, progressed, the courthouse’s massive silhouette took shape. It was decided not to build a base and to prefer a tighter alignment of the columns better suited to the quiet line of the Quai de Saône.
Several sites have been suggested
Namely: The architect Baltard proposed several sites for the Palace of Justice before the final selection of the Saône and Vieux Lyon piers. He proposed building it near the rocks of the Saône River and on what is now known as the Place Carnot.
A final option dating from 1835
The plan adopted by the Council of Civic Buildings in January 1833 included twenty Doric columns in the counterroofs (that is, not counting the two columns with prominently carved ends in the sections bordering the entrance), but some earlier proposals suggested fourteen columns. .
In 1835, with the final revision of the plans by Drumont, the palace facade had its final number of columns, first twenty-two, then twenty-four with the two columns at either end of the facade removed. .
New court and major renovation
In 1995, a new court was built in Lyon Part Dieu area (3rd Circuit) to accommodate the Supreme Court.
The Criminal Court and the Court of Appeal should also have followed, but the mobilization of thousands of Lyon residents made it possible to keep these two judicial institutions in the historic palace.
In 2008, a large-scale plan to renovate the 11,000-square-metre old Lyon building was launched, and was completed in 2012. Didier Rebellin, chief architect of the historic monuments, and Denis Eyrault, led this massive project. In addition to the exterior renovations, the 24-column facade has also benefited from a makeover.
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