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4/27/24, 9:30am - 2:30pm
Center for Architecture
3 LU

The conference will explore the history and future trajectory of the Fontainebleau Fine Arts program and its influence on American architecture. The school has its roots in the United States engagement in World War I, when General Pershing invited Walter Damrosch, conductor of the New York Philharmonic, to form a music program with his French counterparts to train US Army bands. After the war, the music program was invited to open as the American Conservatory in the historic Fontainebleau Chateau, set in the forest and town of Fontainebleau, just 35 miles southeast of Paris. At the same time, the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) Art Training Center, led by American Beaux Arts architect Lloyd Warren, was opened with leading French architects and artists to provide training in the Fine Arts—architecture, painting, sculpture and interior design (and later, landscape design)—for soldiers waiting to return home. In 1923, it merged with the Music Conservatory at Fontainebleau, where it still runs each summer to this day.

Over its 100-year history, the school rapidly evolved to embrace modernist architecture and design education without forgoing the relevance and dexterity of analog mediums for creative expression. The emphasis on cross-disciplinary work, relating the conceptual worlds of music and architecture through drawing, has only increased over time. A direct link with the Music Conservatory was forged by past Fine Arts Director Marion Tournon-Branly and Nadia Boulanger, one of the most influential women in 20th century music history. Beginning in 1975, each Fine Arts session had a dedicated theme that would allow students to develop projects in common across disciplines. Today, the Fontainebleau Schools host top students from American and International universities, and the bond with the Music Conservatory is stronger than ever, offering architecture students the unique opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration with musicians and composers, in parallel with intensive studio work across architecture, urbanism, landscape and installation work with the highest excellence in analog media. To learn more about the Fontainebleau Schools, visit:

Event pricing:
$60 Individual
$30 Young Alumni (2015 – 2023 attendees)

To learn about our other Centennial events, visit:

Supported by:
James McCullar, FA ‘62


Organized by
Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts
4/27/24, 9:30am - 2:30pm
Center for Architecture
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