• Coupled columns in French architecture and the reaction to their use from the Renaissance up to the classical rationalism of the early twentieth century hinged on the debates regarding the relation- ship between structural stability and visual delight, over the backdrop of the search for a national classical tradition. This architectural motif was variously put forward under the argument of the load-bearing performance of materials, as a logical derivation of column spacing rules in the classical canon, or even as a reinterpretation of gothic bundled piers. The practical usefulness and moral suitability of iron reinforce- ment in the wide spans entailed by coupled columns accompanied these debates from the seventeenth- century Louvre Colonnade up to Perret’s case for the monumental use of reinforced concrete.