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Albert J. Rousseau
The Michigan Technic 38-39

March, 1927
, page 38-39
The Michigan Technic


Albert J. Rousseau

Of the sciences of our civilization, architecture builds for us monuments which shall
 stand to our posterity as the most forceful
 expression of our attainments. We of Ann Arbor 
and the University of Michigan are indeed fortunate to have in our midst one who by the merit 
of both achievement and inborn ability has shown 
true leadership in architecture. 
 We speak of Mr. Albert J. 
Rousseau, Professor of Architecture in the College of Architecture.

He was born in the city of 
Quebec, of an old French family, who crossed from Normandy to find the fleur-de-lis waving on the ancient fortress. As
 a young boy studying in a private school and later at the
 Academy of St. Savior, he 
showed such marked interest in 
things pertaining to the arts 
and mechanics, that the future
 of the child was easily apparent. Not long after his entrance
 at St. Savior, his taste for
 drawing and unusual mechanical skill with small toys at
tracted the attention of a talented Parisian instructor, who 
tutored him unsparingly, not 
only in the arts, but also in sciences, mathematics, 
 and the languages, with the result that young
 Rousseau passed the examination for admission to 
the study of architecture in the Province of Que
bec at the age of sixteen.

The difficult task of finding a suitable office for 
the pursuit of his professional studies was simplified by the acceptance of an offer, which he received from Mr. Joseph P. Ouellet, who later became President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Here, under skillful direction, his 
studies were pushed vigorously so that he successfully passed the final examination for the practice of architecture in the Province of Quebec
 while he was twenty-one years old, the youngest
 "architecte diplome" since the charter had been 
entrusted to the architects of the province. 

The admiration which the young man developed 
for the architecture of the Old World gave him a 
strong desire to acquire more knowledge in this
 field, so after two more years
 with Mr. Ouellet, he sailed to 
Europe in the spring of 1909, 
and went directly to Paris with
 hopes of entering the famous 
Ecole Nationale Superieure de
Beaux Arts, mecca of architects. For a period of five
 years, he was associated with
 Mr. L. Beviere, Architect, D. 
P. L. G., and Inspector of the 
Public Monuments of the City 
of Paris, taking an active part 
in almost all the architectural 
competitions held in France at 
the time. His office frequently 
took first place. 

During this period, he studied diligently, for the contest 
for admission to the Ecole Na
tionale Superieure des Beaux
 Arts, and for that purpose he 
took work under the expert 
guidance of Professor Eugene
 Chifflot, another prominent French architect. Soon 
he was ready for the challenge and was admitted
 in the third place in a contest, which gathered candidates, to the number of eight hundred, from the 
foremost architectural institutions of the world.

Now M. Rousseau entered the "atelier" of Louis
 Bernier, Architect, D. P. L. G., Grand Prix de 
Rome, and Member of the Institute of France, 
 and after three years of study under this renowned 
master, M. Rousseau won the First Prize Jouie, the 
only man from this side of the Atlantic to attain
 such an honor. 

During the next few years, he continued his 
studies, traveling extensively through many parts 
of Europe, and taking a prominent part in many
 of the architectural contests held at the time.

About ten years ago, while visiting in America, 
he received an offer to join the staff of the College 
of Architecture of the University of Michigan in
 the capacity of Professor of Architecture. Since 
his advent here, many of the students have been 
fortunate enough to know the sincerity of his
 friendship, and the high degree of esteem with, 
 which he is regarded, tells us that he possesses a 
remarkable personality, and is a true student of 
human nature as well as art. When the years of 
tireless effort and ceaseless preparation spent in
 study and practice are considered, we are able to 
see why Professor Rousseau's professional work
 has reached such a high pinnacle of excellence that 
he attained "honorable mention" for his design for 
the Chicago Tribune Tower, two years ago. The
 jury, who commented on the "beauty and original
ity" of his design, were judging the work of the 
highly skilled and foremost thinkers in "stone and 
steel" from all parts of the world, some twenty
 nations being represented. 

He is a member of many professional, scientific
 and literary societies, including the Royal Institute 
of Canada, Academic Latine des Sciences, Arts, et 
Belles-Lettres, Paris; Societe Academiquc d'His-
toire Internationale; American Association for the
 Advancement of Science, and the Michigan Society of Architects.

Professor Rousseau believes that the architect
 should keep in touch with the progress of human 
knowledge and also be able to execute with his
 own hands the designs, which he conceives on 
paper. He, himself, is an exceptionally clever
 craftsman in this type of work. Remarkable for 
the harmony of its lines and proportions, the out-
standing example of his work in Ann Arbor is 
the new Masonic Temple, which he designed as
 a member of the firm of Rousseau and McConkey.

Students of architecture in this college may well
 ponder on the stroke of fortune which has given 
them a chance for contact and perhaps friendship
 with a man standing head and shoulders above in 
the field of architecture, as does Professor Albert
 J. Rousseau.