Tag Archives: architecture

Monuments Historique de France

Roussel, Joules. Monuments Historiques de France. Ensembles d’Architectura, Détails Décoratifs, Documents, d’après les Archives du Ministère de l’Instruction Publique et des Beaux-arts. 3 Vols. Paris: A. Guérinet, [n.d.].

Assembled by the French Ministère de l’Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts, Monuments Historiques de France is a three volume series containing over 200 19th- and 20th-century photographs that document French monumental architecture from the Roman Empire to the 18th century. A range of building types are represented including public works, cathedrals, palaces and other domestic architecture. These volumes are organized chronologically and provide high-quality photographs capturing exterior, interior, and detailed views of some of France’s most renowned architectural spaces. A product of the neoimperialist era, a small section of photographs also documents Algerian architecture, though these plates are strangle absent from the volumes available in the Architecture & Planning Library special collection.

Library of Congress call numbers: NA 1041 R63 V. 1, V.2, V3

Small French Buildings

Coffin, Jr., Lewis A., Henry M. Polhemus and Addison F. Worthington. Small French Buildings: The Architecture of Town and Country, Comprising Cottages, Farmhouses, Minor Chateaux or Manors with their Farm Groups, Small Town Dwellings, and a Few Churches. New York: C. Scribner, 1921.

Small French Buildings is an English-language celebration of the French vernacular in Normandy, Brittany, the Cote d’Or and Dordogne. The book divides its collection of 183 plates into four sections by building type: Cottages, Churches and Chapels, Town Houses, and small Châteaux, Manors and other farm buildings. While it is unclear why certain buildings are highlighted in this volume, the images included provide access (though somewhat distilled) to the architecture of the everyday–where people lived, worked, played and dreamed. Published in 1921, this idealized vernacular, however uncluttered by its society, is a unique document in an era when art and architectural historians were generally concerned with the canon.

Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 C6

Rudiment D’Archeologie: Architectures Civile et Militaire

Caumont, Arcisse de. Abécédaire; or, Rudiment d’Archéologie: Architectures Civile et Militaire. 2nd ed. Paris: Derache, 1858

As a follow-up to his discussion of medieval religious architecture, Caumont examines civic and military architecture in Rudiment d’Archéologie: Architectures Civile et Militaire. Caumont encountered considerable difficulty when producing this study as much of this type of medieval architecture had been dismantled or destroyed. Nevertheless, the Société francaise d’archéologie determined that his completed work produced an effective system for classifying medieval war and civil architecture.

Caumont organizes this work by theme unlike his work on religious architecture. Devoting the first part of the book to civil architecture, he examines monasteries, churches, and other town buildings, specifically documenting sundry architectural elements employing often rudimentary renderings to better articulate form and function. The second part of the book explores military implements including castles. Here, Caumont dissects castle construction and design, exploring the various construction techniques and architectural elements that made these spaces effective military outposts.

Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 C376

Rudiment D’Archeologie: Architecture Religieuse

Caumont, Arcisse de. Abécédaire; ou Rudiment d’Archéologie: Architecture Religieuse. 5th ed. Paris: Derache, 1886

In this French-language text, Arcisse de Caumont imagines medieval architecture as an aberrant rupture in the history of architecture in France. Situated outside the dominate classicist paradigm which flanks the period, Caumont perceives Middle Age architectural objects as degenerate. He classifies buildings according to two major eras which he terms ère romane and ère ogivale, further subdividing these categories into three epochs that express the initial moments of each in pejorative terms (terming one primordiale and, the other, primitive). This language denotes a specific attitude about the medieval period that might be reflected in contemporary literature.

As a reference work, Rudiment d’Archéologie provides access to a number of woodcuts that document buildings and architectural elements in varying states of decay. The images proliferated in this text demonstrate the specific iconographic concerns of medieval religious architecture and suggest a relationship with their architectural milieu.

The notion of aberrance is perhaps the most interesting historiographical element in this otherwise linear narrative documenting the iconographic in medieval architecture.That this degeneracy is so duly noted and then supplemented with visual expressions of space in ruin creates a curious dialectic.

Collection: Cret
Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 C376 1886

L’Architecture Francaise de Jean Mariette

Mauban, André. L’Architecture Francaise de Jean Mariette. Paris: Van Oest, 1945.

In L’Architecture Francaise de Jean Mariette, André Mauban indexes the collected works of engraver and book collector Jean Mariette whose own publishing efforts included the completion and dissemination of at least five volumes concerning French Architecture. L’Architecture Francaise de Jean Mariette is divided into to two sections, the first indexes each work represented in Mariette’s five volumes and the second assembles notes, references, and plates that demonstrate Mariette’s work and explore his significance and influence. Throughout this French-language tome, Mauban is considerate of the reader, providing explicit instructions for using and understanding the book.

Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 M3 M3


Arizzoli-Clémentel, Pierre, ed. Versailles. 2 vols. Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod, 2009.

A recent acquisition to the Architecture & Planning Library Special Collection, Versailles is a compendium documenting the rich architectural, art and cultural histories of the 17th century palace. This two-volume work juxtaposes plans, sections, and other drawing that express the palace’s design with high-resolution photographs of its resplendent interior and exterior spaces, and a number of essays that explore its art, sculpture, and landscape and architectural design. Versailles includes additional essays that examine the cultural and political activities that took place within the palace.


The Vernacular and Academic Nostalgia

Farm Houses, Manor Houses, Minor Chateaux and Small Churches: From the Eleventh to the Sixteenth Centuries, in Normandy, Brittany and other parts of France. New York: The Architectural Book Publishing Company, P. Wenzel and M. Krakow, 1917.

Another selection from the Paul Philippe Cret collection, Farm Houses, Manor Houses, Minor Chateaux and Small Churches is a collection of nearly 100 pages of images documenting vernacular architecture throughout Normandy, Brittany and other parts of France. While there is no index or table of contents, the book’s preface provides some unique insight into the function of this assembly. Written by AIA Fellow Ralph Adams Cram, we once again hear from a scholar seeking to return to a simpler moment, a time when architecture possessed “human scale.” Whether this response reflects the broader attitude toward the social and cultural activities that precipitated the First World War, or a more individual perspective, Cram suggests that the images compiled in the pages of this book are rooted in nostalgia, a time gone by and yet a moment his contemporaries should return to.

Collection: Cret
Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 F3

The Modernist’s Agenda

Emerson, William and Georges Gromort. The Use of Brick in French Architecture: Part One The Midi. New York: Architectural Book Publishing Company, 1935.

Written by architects William Emerson and Georges Gromort, The Use of Brick in French Architecture represents an historiographical shift in the writing of architectural history, where the architect-authors’ primary agenda reflects the desire to establish the parameters of appropriate usage. This professional concern is indicative of what we like to call modernism and suggests that the materials themselves possess specific meaning outside of their function in an architectural system. The Use of Brick in French Architecture represents one such endeavor, where examinations of the great brickwork architecture in the French Midi (this region includes Albi and Toulouse) results in the assembly of a body of work that establishes a relationship between building function and materiality while celebrating the majesty of works executed in brick.

Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 E55 PT. 1

Detour au Moyen Âge

Mortet, Victor. Recueil de Textes Relatifs à l’Histoire de l’Architecture et à la Condition des Architectes en France au Moyen Âge, XIe-XIIe siècles. Paris: A. Picard, 1911.

Sorbonne Archivist Victor Mortet assembled 153 primary sources concerning the history of Gothic architecture in France in Recueil de Textes Relatifs à l’Histoire de l’Architecture. Originally composed in Latin, the texts incorporated into this collection were generally composed by members of the clergy and describe the construction of churches and other religious architecture between the 10th and 12th centuries. Each text includes a brief introduction in French and copious footnotes that contextualize these sources historically while cross-referencing contemporary scholarship. Accompanied by an extensive index and glossary, this is an invaluable resource to the medieval French scholar.

Library of Congress call number: NA 1043 M6



Special Collections Focus: French Architecture

Visit the Architecture & Planning Library special collection located in Battle Hall

As part of our ongoing effort to expose the rich and diverse materials held in the Architecture & Planning Library special collections, we will be highlighting a number of collection items that explore various historical and historigraphical topics related to the study of French architecture during the summer and fall 2011 sessions. The volumes featured in this series were reviewed by architectural history and theory graduate student Kristen Decker-Ali as part of a volunteer project completed during the summer 2010. Decker-Ali, whose own work focuses on Philibert de l’Orme’s Château d’Anet for Diane de Poitiers, reviewed dozens of volumes documenting 33 items of specific interest. These items belong to 26 separate titles, explore the history of urban and provincial architecture in France from the medieval period through the early 19th century and include volumes published as early as 1830. Check out Battle Hall Highlights each week, as we take a look at these titles.

Including over 20,000 volumes, the Architecture & Planning Library special collections comprise almost 1/5th of the library’s holdings and function as an invaluable resource for scholars in the disciplines of architecture, art and architectural history, landscape architecture, community and regional planning, building technology and construction science. Special strengths include central and eastern European architecture, especially the Vienna Secession Movement, late nineteenth and early twentieth century British and French architecture books, as well as titles from the libraries of architects whose work is represented in the Alexander Architectural Archive. Of special note are the libraries of architect Paul Philippe Cret, architectural historian Colin Rowe, and architect and educator Charles W. Moore.