The Royal Academy of Architecture was founded in 1671 with two separate by intimately linked objectives; to establish and codify the practice of architecture in harmony with the growing solidification of the absolutist state, and to provide for the instruction of students in the theoretical matters of architecture. It was one amongst many academies that were founded at this time as a means of centralizing the future theory and practice of all the arts in the service of the absolutist state. Architecture too was central to the growing building programs of the French monarchy. Architects themselves, such as Jean-Baptiste Colbert and François Blondel were explicit in positing an interest in the monuments of classical antiquity and contemporary architecture both in the service of the glory of the monarch.
That same year, Colbert announced a competition for the design of a particularly "French order" of architecture. In three more years he would send the rather young Antoine Desgodets to Rome to make new, accurate measurements of the ancient monuments there.
The Academy was constantly enveloped in tedious conversations centering on minute matters of the classical orders of architecture. It also awarded the Prix de Rome for architects to study in Rome at the French Academy. All major architects or architectural theorists in France were members of the Academy until its demise at the Revolution.