Materials and techniques of construction at Viollet-le-Duc


Abstract :

This book is the outcome of the Second International Viollet le Duc Symposium at the Château de Pierrefonds on september 24-25/2010. It’s contributors investigate the different forms of Viollet le Duc’s intellectual and pratical accomplishments as builder and overseer, not only as a theoretician, form his empirical and poetic perception of building materials to their shaping and implementation.

We have striven, on the one hand, to investigate Viollet le Duc’s personal and theoretical relationship to his materials, prior to his actual work with building, and have sought to understand aspects of his work that have more to do with poetic creation than with implementing theory.

On the other hand, we have endeavored to understand the physical reality of Viollet le Duc’s building projects, notably by analyzing often unpublished documents relating to the history of his restoration and construction sites (among them Amiens, Vézelay, Sens, Pierrefonds and Clermont-Ferrand). We have examined his efforts to acquire stone and timber ; the criteria guiding his choice of quarries, building contractors and materials ; his assessment of the place and role of metal in restauration work. Our 2010 encounter was also an invitation to probe Viollet le Duc’s techniques of stonecutting and building, not to mention the decisive role of colore as a tool and a means of ornemental expression.