Segments in this Video

Citadel de Lille (02:09)


Sébastien de Prestre de Vauban built the citadel between 1667 and 1673. In 1667 Vauban played a major role in the siege of Lille. An 18th century dice game teaches military architecture.

Building in Marshland (02:07)

The terrain provided protection from a country approach. The citadel wall is over 2 km and has five openings. A large gate provides a route for evacuation or reinforcements and a triumphal arch reveals the splendor of Louis XIV.

Logistics Base (03:59)

The citadel was devoted exclusively to military use; barracks house 3,000 soldiers. All military architecture was designed to withstand mortar and canon fire. See how the walls and rampart were constructed.

Architectural Plan (02:59)

The polygon eliminates the possibility of perpendicular ammunition fire. The enclosure has five salients and five curtain walls. Interposing, intermediate defenses protected the rampart from direct fire; a bank of earth creates the final perimeter.

V-Shaped Defenses (02:35)

In the 17th century, the defenses were devoid of vegetation and created a "killing ground." Vauban used his practical experience to design the citadel; he wrote a treatise on the conduct of sieges.

Inside the Citadel (03:43)

An aqueduct crossed the entire citadel, turning mill wheels and providing a secret weapon. The buildings are arranged according to a radial concentric plan. Today, the guard posts protect the entrance to the Rapid Reaction Force headquarters.

Function vs Aesthetics (03:51)

The powder magazine has thick granite buttress bases. Decorative architecture appears on the church; soldiers had to attend church. Dressed stone and Flemish brickwork encompass the arsenal building; the barracks are more of a Flemish style.

Passion for Geometry (01:48)

The citadel has a proliferation of acute angles. Vauban wanted the building shapes to fit a radial concentric plan; he preferred square buildings in his later plans.

Vauban's Legacy (02:10)

The king surrendered the citadel to the Dutch in 1708. Vauban's works included more than 100 strongholds. Vauban wrote, "The citadel contains nothing without use and is fortified by reason."

Credits: The Citadel de Lille: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture (00:29)

Credits: The Citadel de Lille: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

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The Citadel de Lille: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

Part of the Series : Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture
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Vauban's "Queen of the citadels" was the model for military constructions all over France. The Citadel of Lille was built between 1667 and 1673 at the request of Louis 16th of France, from plans drawn up by the engineer and military architect Sébastien de Prestre de Vauban. He designed its fortifications taking into accounts developments in the art of war. Although it no longer fulfils its original function, it has become a source of inspiration for major contemporary architects on account of its simple and exacting design.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL94738

ISBN: 978-1-68272-102-5

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

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