Frontmatter by D. Tremblot de la Croix III
Both a sort of 'think tank' and a repository of architecture the Académie aims to promote architectural quality in its various forms of expression and representation with equal consideration for the architecture of previous centuries, an essential part of our heritage, and contemporary creation, the reflection or prefiguration of the modern world.
Building up a collection of drawings and architectural documents is a response to the most deeply rooted motives of the Académie's vocation.
Architectural creation must devote itself to incorporating all the aspects of a civilisation, with regard both to its history and its development. It is sustained by the confrontation of attitudes in the diversity of temperaments and of generations.
Our institution considers the preservation of important examples of the development of architectural creation throughout history to be indispensable. The manner in which works are handed down proceeds from a natural tendency among architects, whether members of our association or singled out by it, to entrust their drawings to us to ensure their conservation.
The Académie has already collected a large number of original drawings, writings, portraits, commemorative medallions and photographs. Some of these pieces have featured in public exhibitions in France and abroad and become the subject of studies and publications. In addition the Académie receives enquiries about its collections and former members of the Société Centrale des Architectes not only from specialists such as architects and historians but also from a wider public increasingly sensitive to architecture.
The publication of a descriptive catalogue was warranted by the importance and interest of our collections.
This volume covering the last third of the 18th Century and the whole of the 19th Century is the first in a series. Our collections, which are growing continually, are especially rich in 20th Century drawings and documents. More catalogues will be produced as our means and external help permit.
Paul Dufournet, member of our association and curator of its collections is the man who, starting with a relatively small but high quality stock has been responsible for the rebirth, the development and the institutionalisation of this particular activity of the Académie.
Art historian Claudine de Vaulchier has invested her enthusiasm and skill in the editing of this work. Passionately interested in 19th Century architecture, she provided invaluable help in the exhibitions devoted to architects Gabriel Davioud and Jacques-Ignace Hittorff.
This work is the fruit of three years of effort, encouraged and financed by the American Richard Lounsbery Foundation to which we address our heartfelt thanks.
We sincerely hope this catalogue will find the readership which in our opinion it deserves.
Daniel TREMBLOT DE LA CROIX
Président de l'Académie d'Architecture