Etienne Sulpice Hallet, also known as Stephen Hallet, was born and trained in France and admitted in 1785 to the class of Architectes Experts-jures du Roi 1re Colonne
. According to Fiske Kimball, Hallet arrived in New York around 1786 as part of the ill-fated efforts of Quesnay de Beaurepaire to found an Academie des Sciences et Beaux-Arts
in Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. By 1790 he had moved to Philadelphia and the next year, following the dismissal of Pierre Charles L'Enfant
, became involved in the competition for the design of the United States Capitol. His submissions received the second prize. After the amateur architect William Thornton
's winning design was criticized, President Washington directed Hallet to revise Thornton's plan and to supervise the actual construction. A misunderstanding over how extensively the Thornton design could be altered resulted in Hallet's dismissal in 1794. After struggling unsuccessfully to support his family in Washington, Hallet returned to Philadephia, where he announced in the Pennsylvania Packet
(21 December 1796) the founding of a "School of Architecture, In the Academy, north Fourth, near Mulberry street, from six to nine in the evening . . ." The following year he advertised in the Federal Gazette
(25 November 1797) "that he will recommence his evening school of Architecture . . . in Messrs. Demillier and Delavanne's Drawing and Painting academy . . . " Nothing else is known of this school; Hallet appears in Havana in 1800 and in New York City in 1812 where he may have remained until his death in 1825.