Choisy was born in Vitry-le-François. He studied architecture in Paris from 1861 to 1863. As part of his studies, he traveled to Rome and Athens where his interest was in the structures of ancient monuments rather than their decorative detail. He was professor of architecture at the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées from 1877 to 1901. In 1899, he published his two-volume book, Histoire de l’architecture. In it, he developed isometric drawings that combined plan, elevation, section, perspective into a single drawing. He then used this visual approach to describe buildings in social and material terms along with historical determinism. In 1904, he won the RIBA’s Royal Gold Medal, the same year this title was published. Choisy died on September 18, 1909, at age 68, in Paris.
This photogravure is from his last book which, from what I can tell, is the first to contain photographs. From one review… The photographs reproduced by M. Choisy show several examples, through which we make sure that the sinuosities of these courses are very apparent; they jump to the eyes; it is impossible not to see them. Although documentary in nature, the photographs lean towards modernism, much in the same way Auguste Salzmann’s Jerusalem photographs had 33 years prior. Choisy’s choice of photogravure for this project is curious… perhaps he favored the way the ink syntax portrayed stone foundations giving them both mass and depth.
Ferdinand de Dartein, Compte rendue de ‘L’art de bâtir chez les Égyptiens’ par A. Choisy Annales des ponts et chuassées – pp. 263-268. – 1904