A Point In Design

Architecture News – Fort Boyard
August 8, 2011, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Architecture News

Fort Boyard

This unique architectural landmark located off of the coast of France intrigued me. The idea of building a fort in the sea was proposed by Louis XIV in 1661, but the idea was abandoned due to the difficulty of building in an indefensible location. It was not till the rein of Napoleon did any work begin on the project. The foundation was laid at low tide and then slowly built into an eliptical structure 61 meters long and 31 meters wide by 20 meters high. The fort was completed in 1857 some 56 years after construction began in 1801. The fort was designed to hold 250 men and serve as a defense post for the French military. In later years the fort served as a prison and today it serves as a tv set for a French Reality show called Fort Boyard.

What really struck me about the building was how many building styles and typologies that this fort embodied. You can see elements of the Roman Colosseum, a prison (watch tower), a fortification (arrow loops), a stage and a barracks. Alas, the fort is only viewable from your tv screen as visitors are not allowed, unless you are a contestant on the tv show.

The Watch Tower

Rounded Colonnade

The French game show which first aired in 1990 on the RTL network (Radio Television Luxemburg) is something like Fear Factor where contestants have to complete challenges in an allotted period of time to get keys to open rooms in the fort. The show has proven popular and is still in production 20 years after its debut.

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