Architecture terrible

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A West View of Newgate by George Shepherd. London's demolished Newgate Prison is an example of the architecture terrible architectural style.

Architecture terrible was a style of architecture advocated by French architect Jacques-François Blondel in his nine-volume treatise Cours d'architecture ou traité de la décoration, distribution et constructions des bâtiments contenant les leçons données en 1750, et les années suivantes (1771–77).

Blondel promoted architecture terrible for the exterior design of prisons. The form of the prison itself would proclaim its function and serve as a deterrent, and so achieve a "repulsive style" of heaviness that would "declare to the spectators outside the confused lives of those detained inside, along with the force required for those in charge to hold them confined".[1]

London's second Newgate Prison, built between 1768 and 1775, is an example of this architectural style: reinforced walls almost without windows, a deliberate inelegance, and overt symbolism such as carved chains over entrances were all designed to instill terror in those who saw it.[2]


  1. ^ Blondel, Jacques-François (1771–77). Cours d'architecture. Volume I. Paris. pp. 426–7.
  2. ^ Bergdoll, Barry (2000). European architecture, 1750–1890. Oxford University Press. pp. 91–92. ISBN 0-19-284222-6.