Chateau de Chambord
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Architect Domenico da Cortona
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Location Chambord, France   map
Date 1519 to 1547   timeline
Building Type palace
 Construction System bearing masonry
Climate temperate
Context rural
Style French Renaisance
Notes Possibly by Pierre Nepveu (see discussion). Cylindrical masses, interlocking double-spiral staircase.






Elevation Drawing

Plan Drawing


Perspective drawing, exterior overview


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Discussion Chateau de Chambord Commentary

"...the Chateau de Chambord is the most exciting of the Loire chateaux in plan and structure. The original wooden model was by an Italian, Domenico da Cortona, but was much altered in execution. Leonardo da Vinci, who designed a palace for Fran¨ois at Romorantin, may have been involved. At first sight mediaeval in plan, with a four-towered square 'donjon' inside a rectangular four-towered enceinte, Chambord has a Renaissance vigour of design. Four rectangular vaulted halls on each floor form a cross-shape, meeting in the centre with the spectacular double-helix open-work staircase, where people can ascend and descend simultaneously without meeting. This and the subsidiary staircases are crowned with lanterns."

— Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p924, 930.


The Italian Domenico da Cortona supervised engineering works at the chateaux of Tournai, Ardres, and Chambord, and is widely credited with the design of the Chateau de Chambord. Other evidence suggests that Chambord was actually designed by the French architect Pierre Nepveu, from Amboise, France.

Sources on Chateau de Chambord

Robert Adam. Classical Architecture. London: Penguin Books, 1990. ISBN 0-670-82613-8. NA260.A26 1990. elevation drawing, fig b, p29. Derek Brentnall.

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. circle and rectangle diagram, p186.   Updated edition available at

Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. Boston: Butterworths, 1987. ISBN 0-408-01587-X. NA200.F63 1987. discussion, p924, 930.   The classic text of architectural history. Expanded 1996 edition available at

Peter Murray. Architecture of the Renaissance. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1971. ISBN 8109-1000-4. LC 70-149850. NA510.M87. plan drawing, fig480, p323.

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. exterior photo, interior photo of spiral stair, plan drawing, p158-159. Reprint edition: Da Capo Press, April 1991. ISBN 0-3068-0436-0. — An accessible, inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at

Russell Sturgis. Architecture Sourcebook. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1984. ISBN 0-442-28031-9. LC 84-7275. NA2840.S78. perspective drawing, p96.

Russel Sturgis, et al. Sturgis' Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture and Building, Volume 1. New York: Dover, 1989. ISBN 0-486-26025-9. NA31.S838 1989. p798, p1026 (Volume 2).

Jim Harter, editor. Images of World Architecture. New York: Bonanza Books, 1990. NA202.H37 1990. LC 90-350. 769'.44-dc20. ISBN 0-517-69257-0. — 2000 nineteenth-century wood engravings of buildings. Out of print, but listed at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Chateau de Chambord


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