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Barry Bergdoll

(b Marseille, Nov 26, 1787; d Marseille, Feb 8, 1879).

French architect and writer. The designer of many of the principal public buildings of Marseille, he also published the first accurate records of the Islamic monuments of Cairo, North Africa and the Middle East—a central interest of mid-19th-century architectural theorists and ornamentalists.

After studying both engineering and drawing in Marseille, Coste began his career in 1804 as site inspector and draughtsman for the Neo-classicist Michel-Robert Penchaud, a municipal and departmental architect, for whom he worked for a decade. In 1814, on the recommendation of the architects Percier & Fontaine, he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the ateliers of Antoine-Laurent-Thomas Vaudoyer and Jean-Baptiste Labadye (1777–1850). An encounter in Paris with the geographer Jombert, who had been a member of the scientific mission that accompanied Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, was to influence his subsequent career. In 1817 Jombert recommended Coste to Muhammad ‛Ali, Khedive of Egypt (...

Article

Mark Dike DeLancey

Term used to refer to architecture from the western Sudan, generally understood as encompassing Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and northern regions of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, and Benin. The term ‘Sudanic’ is derived from the Arabic phrase ‘Bilad al-Sudan’, or ‘Land of the Blacks’, used historically to denote sub-Saharan Africa. References to Sudanic architecture were first employed in the late 19th century, particularly by French colonial administrators and adventurers, to refer to the architecture of French West Africa. These commentators frequently likened the architecture of the region to that of Egypt, thereby endowing the French colony with a degree of prestige, particularly in the wake of waves of Egyptomania that washed across Europe in the 19th century.

Perhaps more controversial are the much more common references to the Sudanese style of architecture. While focused primarily in the regions referenced above, this interpretation may also incorporate works from surrounding regions such as Guinea, Senegal, and Nigeria. What exactly constitutes the Sudanese style has been the subject of extensive debate. The ...