Viollet-le-Duc: Resort and Private Architecture

Viollet-le-Duc (1814-2014) Villégiature et Architecture Domestique / Resort and Private Architecture

International Conference, 9-10 October 2014, Hendaye, France

[Call for Papers Deadline: 31st December 2013]
Viollet-le-Duc’s birth’s bicentenary is registered in the program of National Commemorations by French ministry of Culture in 2014. On that occasion, the laboratory EA 3002 ITEM (University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour) organizes an international conference in order to celebrate the works and life of this architect-theorist, who founded French national identity revival in the sector of heritage and arts. This event will take place on the 9th and 10th October 2014 at the Salle des Congrès Antoine d’Abbadie, in Hendaye (France), not far from the château d’Abbadia, outstanding building of Viollet-le-Duc’s corpus.
Conference argument
Many facets of Viollet-le-Duc’s personality are henceforth well known, especially his role as a restorator of diocesan buildings or his theoretical production. However, far from being exhaustively exploited, the extraordinary mass of his archives – coming from private or public funds, such as the Médiathèque de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine’s one – goes on feeding scientific thinking.
In this regard, though they never were really neglected by researchers, private orders were often evocated in brief monographies or been integrated within comparative studies which only touched their domestic specificity. Therefore this international conference propones to study especially domestic architecture in Viollet-le-Duc’s work, who made the theme of the “house” a fundamental questioning in his architectural and litterary work, in particular from the 1870’s.
As a matter of fact, since the 1980 exhibition at the Grand Palais (Paris), several monographies shed new light on this architect-theorist’s work and deserve to be collected and/or deepened. Most of Viollet-le-Duc’s private projects or buildings had been introduced in the articles of this reference exhibition catalogue, even if some of them were missing. Now we know better his conception of the cottage, or the châteaux de Roquetaillade (Gironde), de Pupetières (Isère) or d’Abbadia (Pyrénées atlantiques). There Viollet-le-Duc, as the French Second Empire architect he was, made a point of honor to adapt his building projects to modern way of life, especially to sponsors who came from high society and liked to enjoy resorts in the countryside or on the seashore.
What place and what definition to attribute to private orders and human home concept within Viollet-le-Duc’s work? This international conference aims to consider the exclusive problematic of viollet-le-ducian domestic architecture through its concrete variations as well as through the prism of his theoretical contributions. Because, although they do not enjoy the privilege of the numerical superiority within his large corpus, these private orders of restoration or, exceptionnaly, of ex-nihilo building constitute realizations which are as identifiable and meaningful as his diocesan works.
Lines of thought
This international conference proposes to deal with this issue through four main lines :
1 – The theoretical aspect, which is developped in his numerous books, among which the Dictionnaire raisonné de l’Architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle (1854-1868), Histoire d’une maison (1873), Histoire de l’Habitation humaine (1875), the Entretiens sur l’architecture (1863-1872) or Habitations modernes (1875-1877).
2 – The realized or abandoned projects, which will help to understand the degree of practical application of his theories, to measure the link between theory, which can be idealist, and practice, which is often constrained by the sponsor’s requirements or the environmental context. This line of thought purposes to clarify the architect’s approach, which is founded on the Ancients’ know-hows in order to build an architectural and decorative modernity, may it concern:

a) Historicists sites under the aegis of the château de Pierrefonds, which consist in gothic revival orders, such as the châteaux de Pupetières, de Roquetaillade, d’Abbadia, de la Flachère, de Montdardier…

b) Or works or projects which break with the gothic revival stylistic model, for instance his own cottage La Vedette in Lausanne, Sabatier’s house in Pierrefonds or the rent buildings…

3 – The organization of the construction sites, with, in particular, the study of the collaboration and the part of delegation, for example to the attention of Duthoit at Roquetaillade or Abbadia, to the one of Darcy at Pupetières, or to the one of local supervisors… and by extension, Viollet-le-Duc’s theories and know-how’s heritage in his collaborators or disciples’ private works.
4 – The human relationship with private sponsors, considering the manner to manage an order which depends from personal requirements; consisting sometimes in privileged relationships as with Mme de Mauvezin in Roquetaillade, but also, for a reason or another, in relationships which can also reach to the cancellation of a project, as in the cases of Dobrée’s house (Nantes) or the château de Lauture.
The propositions of paper must be submitted before the 31th December 2013, including a one-page summary and a brief curriculum vitae which especially indicates the applicant’s main publications.
These documents must be sent to :
The acts of the conference will be published at the Presses Universitaires de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (France).
Scientific committee
– Martin Bressani, Professor in History of Architecture and assistant director of the School of Architecture at McGill University (Canada)
– Viviane Delpech, Researcher, EA 3002 ITEM, Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (France)
– Jean-Michel Leniaud, Professor in History of contemporary art and director of the Ecole Nationale des Chartes (France)
– Arnaud Timbert, Associate professor in History of medieval art, Université Charles de Gaulle-Lille 3 (France)
– Bernard Toulier, General curator of heritage, ministère de la Culture (France)
Organization committee: EA 3002 ITEM, Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (France)
– Philippe Chareyre, Professor in modern History, director of laboratory
– Viviane Delpech, Ph.D. in History of contemporary art, associated researcher
– Dominique Dussol, Professor in History of contemporary art
Scientific direction: Dominique Dussol/Viviane Delpech – Contact :

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