The architecture and heritage diary: from note-book to a book on the worksite

The architecture and heritage diary: from note-book to a book on the worksite

The “Tour d’Italie” dedicates real-life based sketching and drawing and concerns several architects, such as François Debret (1777-1850), Jean-Baptiste Ciceron Lesueur (1794-1883), Guillaume Abel Bouet (1795 – 1853), and Alexander- Dominique Denuelle (1818-1880), Louis Hippolyte Lebas (1782-1867), Pierre-Joseph Garrez (1802-1852) and Charles Garnier (1825-1898) and many others … In fact, the training of architects at the Academy of Fine Arts training requires, since 1821, completing the course of study of three years by the “Grand Tour” in Italy to compete for the Prix de Rome given by the Academy of France in Rome which controls production work from the antique. The model of the “Grand Tour” becomes unavoidable among architects who, despite their professional recognition, decide to travel to hone their skills. Today, students of architecture, heirs to this tradition, use the travelogue diary and can give their paper for  a degree in architecture in this form, based on the model of the school of Fine Arts-ENSAD degree. The publishing house Alternatives edited one of the first books of architecture in 1981 under the title ‘Maisons saisons’ observation on vernacular architecture during a walking trip from Paris to Ankara by Sophie and Xavier Bohl Raverdy. Based on 2 impressions, painter and architect, in 1979 take the road by foot to Jerusalem and annotate their journey with landscape and the evolution of the architecture up to Ankara: this diary enables “ share their emotions their visions in this book of architecture where the painter mingles naturally with poetry, the houses and the seasons. “. Many architects publish their diaries: Paul Rudolph since 1974, Albert Laprade from 1981 to 1983: Sketch 07: Southern Europe and Asia Minor, Architecture of France or Architectures of the Mediterranean: through the sketches of Albert Laprade. From 1993 to 2000, a pioneering collection of diaries by Christian Dardennes was published by the publishing house Société des éditions régionales; this has the particularity of following the evolution of the major Parisian projects sites: Le Grand Louvre : dessins de chantier (1991-1993), Falcons in the nest… : a falcon factory sketchbook,, Un métro pour le 21e siècle, Le projet Météor : dessins de chantier, La maison de France télévision : dessins de chantier, Une aérogare pour l’an 2000 : Roissy-Charles-De-Gaulle 2F : dessins de chantier. In 1999, the drawings of Aldo Rossi are published : Aldo Rossi : dessins 1990-1997, album preceded by Les dessins d’Aldo Rossi, chère architecture. Moreover, carnettiste Alain Bouldouyre draws, from 1990, three years of site work in the city of Lyons which aspires to become an international metropolis and directs his diary of a promenade for a day to the worksite: Lyon : carnet de chantier (Horvath, 1993). In 2007, Gildas Chasseboeuf revisits the worksite diary Carnet de chantier dans la vallée des papeteries (Coop Breiz, 2007) to report on a rehabilitation of the industrial zones combining report on the now disappeared paper industry, the protected natural space and the centre for cultural and artistic creation. To be noted that in Lyon, ville ouverte (S. Bachès, Beaux-Arts, 2003) in which Micheline Colin has put her paintings in a panorama, articulated around the four elements (water, air, earth and fire), proposed by Régie Neyret: “Water, finally rediscovered, a source of exchange and confluence. Earth, a mix of heritage and greenery, recognized (UNESCO) as a model of continuity of urban settlement. Fire, allowing the people of Lyons to combine passions with the taste of invention.  Finally Air, which abandoned the sky soot in favour of colour, light and transparency. The poetry of pencils and the pastels of Micheline Colin accompany this walk through Lyon open city”. The heritage diary has evolved from this relationship, in which authentic heritage or archival documents are inserted; the carnettiste indeed achieves both an architectural survey and an ethnographic and historical research. For example, in Marrakech: popular culture of the Medina Elzbieta and Hassan Jouad offer a diary of memories of the medina in which archival documents, old postcards and handwritten letters are inserted into the historical and geographical narrative through the medina. In this way the travelogue becomes a media to raise awareness of heritage preservation through an artistic and sensitive observation like that of Charles Chauderlot admirer of Beijing since 1997, offers two books in his thesis on monumental heritage: Pékin, ultimes regards sur la vieille cité en 2006 et La cité interdite: le dedans dévoilé en 2004. He draws and immortalises the last hutongs before their destruction and. Proving by drawing and personal observation makes the journey through the old Beijing essentially iconographical captioned by extracts from the work of novelist Lao She. Many heritage sites which figure on UNESCO’s list of protected monuments are being featured in travelogue diaries, as proposed by the architect Vincent Besançon with Angkor, carnets du Cambodge. Whether it is Conques, Vézelay, Le Mont St Michel, Notre Dame de Paris, the castles of the Loire, the national heritage is widely appreciated and valued; similarly the Loire Valley, Burgundy, Lyons, Versailles, Notre Dame de Paris, are by Michel Duvoisin, published by Equinox since 2003; Vauban’s legacy by Arnaud d’Aulnay, Dijon by Anne LeMaître (Dijon : carnet d’artiste punctuated by eight thematic routes on the cradle of the Dukes of Burgundy). Fabrice Moireau, watercolorist who is passionate about architectural heritage, resulting in les atmosphères et les lumières des hauts lieux du patrimoine : Paris, Vallée de la Loire, Venise, New York et Rome in the collection Aquarelles by the publishers Pacifique published since 2001.  Be it Paris, Venice, Rome or New York, these capitals have had several hybrid travelogue diaries released to enable their discovery.

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Pascale Argod (2014, 27 juillet). The architecture and heritage diary: from note-book to a book on the worksite. Carnet de voyage - reportage. Consulté le 18 juin 2024, à l’adresse

Pascale Argod

Enseignante PRCE à l'université de Bordeaux (INSPE d'Aquitaine) et chercheuse au sein de l'équipe du MICA (2246 - Médiation, information, communication, art) de l'université de Bordeaux Montaigne, requalifiée en SIC (2010 - 2024 par le Conseil national des universités), Docteur en sciences de l'information et de la communication.

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