“The Art of The Building Site” at Citè de l’Architecture

The exhibition juxtaposes different viewpoints. It brings together a collection of works and documents produced by artists, journalists and amateurs, but also those who work in situ: engineers, architects, contractors and – what is rarer – labourers, through votive offerings or masterpieces produced by the Compagnons charpentiers des Devoirs du Tour de France.


Alain Bublex, Plug-in City, Expérience monumentale, 2003 – Photo : C. Pompidou MNAM-CCI Dist. RMN-GPAdagp


How Western Man has seen, designed and imagined the place where building occurs since the Renaissance. The great diversity of observers, the plurality of images and the different audiences they turn to show that this is a powerful theme, which is far broader than the fields of architecture and technique.


Practical Information

“The Art of The Building Site. Construction and Demolition from the 16th to the 21st Century”
9 November, 2018 – 11 March, 2019
Citè de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine
1 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, Paris


The exhibition ends with the statements of three contemporary architect-engineers: Patrick Bouchain, Marc Mimram and Martin Rauch, for whom the building site is ever increasingly the space where architecture meets complexity, inventiveness and the aspirations of the modern-day world.


Lewis Wickes Hine, Icare, tout en haut de l’Empire State, 1931 – Photo : The New York Public Library

Mise en charge d’une dalle-champignon en ciment – Photo : Felix Candela architectural records and papers, 1950-1984, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University


As the result of close collaboration between specialists of art and specialists of techniques, this exhibition offers a diverse interpretation of the theme: it casts a light on the technical dimension, as well as the social, political and artistic dimensions.

Bureau de John Soane, Vue de la salle de l’infirmerie de l’Hôpital Royal de Chelsea en construction, 1809 – Photo : Sir John Soane’s Museum Ph. Geremy Butler


The path begins with what you would expect to find on a site: construction processes, machines, and men at work. It then highlights the political and social issues about the place that is being built. Even though the site is a highly technical area, it is also a theatre for those in charge, who like to show themselves there, and for the labourers, who are sometimes viewed as oppressed masses, sometimes viewed as heroes.


Luxury living Bhiwadi Sky Club on 18th floor

Chantier des archives nationales pierrefitte sur seine, 16 juillet 2010 © Gilles Raynaldy

Taste of cement © Cite

Alphonse Terpereau, Le viaduc de Gabarit, état des travaux le 6 avril 1884 – Photo : Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-GPAlexis Brandt


News source: Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine
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