As the first phase of planning for renovations to the Royal Institute for Deaf-Mutes in Paris neared its end in the early 1820s, the architect then in charge, Antoine-Marie Peyre, sent a testy letter to Baron Hély d'Oissel, director of public works, regarding a series of “observations” on the plans that Jean-Jacques Tardieu of the Conseil des Bâtiments Civils (Civil Buildings Council) had recently sent him. The council, conceived in 1791 and established in 1795 under the Ministry of the Interior, comprised architectural specialists who oversaw the design, planning, and financing of all public buildings throughout the nation. Would not a single entrance be preferable and safer for...

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