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Eugene Viollet Le Duc: The Latest Architecture and News

Studying the "Manual of Section": Architecture's Most Intriguing Drawing

For Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki and David J. Lewis, the section “is often understood as a reductive drawing type, produced at the end of the design process to depict structural and material conditions in service of the construction contract.” A definition that will be familiar to most of those who have studied or worked in architecture at some point. We often think primarily of the plan, for it allows us to embrace the programmatic expectations of a project and provide a summary of the various functions required. In the modern age, digital modelling software programs offer ever more possibilities when it comes to creating complex three dimensional objects, making the section even more of an afterthought.

With their Manual of Section (2016), the three founding partners of LTL architects engage with section as an essential tool of architectural design, and let’s admit it, this reading might change your mind on the topic. For the co-authors, “thinking and designing through section requires the building of a discourse about section, recognizing it as a site of intervention.” Perhaps, indeed, we need to understand the capabilities of section drawings both to use them more efficiently and to enjoy doing so.

Bagsværd Church by Jørn Utzon (1976). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier (1954). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects United States Pavilion at Expo '67 by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao (1967). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright (1959). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image Courtesy of LTL Architects + 15

AD Classics: Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis / Abbot Suger

The origin of Gothic architecture, a style which defined Europe in the later Middle Ages, can be traced to a single abbey church in the northern suburbs of Paris. The Basilique royale de Saint-Denis (Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis), constructed on the site of an abbey and reliquary established in Carolingian (800-888 CE) times, was partially rebuilt under the administration of Abbot Suger in the early 12th Century; these additions—utilizing a variety of structural and stylistic techniques developed in the construction of Romanesque churches in the preceding centuries—would set medieval architecture on a new course that would carry it through the rest of the epoch.

Félix Benoist (Public Domain). ImageEngraving (1861) Rose Window. Image © Wikimedia user Diliff (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) Tomb. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) West Façade Portal Detail. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) + 9

Building on the Built: the Work of Jonathan Tuckey Design

In Granary Square, located in London’s King’s Cross, there is a fragment of the poem Brill by Aidan Dunn set into the ground, which reads: “King’s Cross, dense with angels and histories. There are cities beneath your pavements, cities behind your skies.” Anchored by the converted granary building and a rejuvenated stretch of canal, Argent’s ongoing King’s Cross development is an appropriate setting for Building on the Built, an exhibition which presents the work of London-based practice Jonathan Tuckey Design.

Uncovering Viollet-le-Duc's "Unexpected" Career

Half of a rhombohedron. Remains of a crystal system separating the glacier of Envers Blaitière Vallée Blanche (Viollet-le-Duc). Image © Médiathèque de l’architecture & du patrimoine
Half of a rhombohedron. Remains of a crystal system separating the glacier of Envers Blaitière Vallée Blanche (Viollet-le-Duc). Image © Médiathèque de l’architecture & du patrimoine

Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the French architect most famous for the 'restoration' of Notre-Dame de Paris, is a person we unequivocally associate with 19th century Gothic Revival. Although there is no doubt that his interpretive restorations of medieval French monuments were some of his greatest achievements, a new exhibition at Paris' Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine seeks to uncover a "well-connected character who pursued an uninterrupted career drawing, building, teaching, restoring, and many other things."

In a review for Domus, Léa-Catherine Szacka examines this first major retrospective dedicated to the designer, theorist and artist since 1980 in celebration of the bicentennial of his birth. According to Szacka curator Jean-Michel Leniaud has, in this exhibition, shifted focus to Viollet-le-Duc's artistic output, thereby presenting "the less known and the more unexpected aspect" of his career.