Architectural Elements Discovered but Threatened in the Marais


1. Building on the southeast corner
at the intersection of rue du Temple
and rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie in Paris
Paris
Photo : Didier Rykner

5/5/13 - Heritage - Paris - While carrying out construction work on a cosmetics store at the corner of rue du Temple and rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie (ill. 1) in the historic Marais district in Paris, well preserved architectural elements (ill. 2) came to light. These consist of several pilasters supporting a sculpted console (ill. 3), of remarkable quality, probably dating from the early 17th century.
According to Jacques Hillairet, the building appears to date from 1610. Though we know this information should be accepted with all due caution, the date does indeed seem probable when looking at the rest of the building. From the first floor up, the structure seems to be in good condition, particularly the corner in question. The photographs show how this rather modest building (which is not listed as a historical monument) could in fact take on real historical and architectural value thanks to this discovery.

There is just a slight problem : if we are to believe our source who spoke to the construction workers on the site, it will be entirely covered up tomorrow 6 May !
We were not able to reach the owner or the persons involved at the Cultural Ministry over the weekend, notably the "Architecte des bâtiments de France", but we will try again Monday morning.


2. Architectural elements discovered on the building
on the southeast corner at the intersection of rue du Temple
and rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie
Paris
Photo : Didier Rykner

3. Architectural elements discovered on the building
on the southeast corner at the intersection of rue du Temple
and rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie
Paris
Photo : Didier Rykner


The zoning rules of the historical district in the Marais, which can be consulted here, clearly state (article 2-1) that : "If, during digs or work of any kind, historical vestiges are found, they should be immediately declared to the architecte des bâtiments de France [...]". The role of the ABF is then to notably : "evaluate what cannot be described in regulatory terms, notably as concerns the architectural aspect, chance discoveries or interior installations". In this case, we would find it hard to believe that the architect would not prohibit covering up these well preserved vestiges which are an integral part of the building. This is particularly true since it imposes no constraints to the opening of the boutique which, on the contrary, would benefit from a more beautiful façade than before. One need only look at the corner across the street where the building has kept its angular architecture (ill. 4) with a group of small angels sculpted on a corner piece (ill. 5), but which nevertheless allows the shop below to show its wares in the windows.


4. Building on the northwest corner
of the rue du Temple and
the rue Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie
Paris
Photo : Didier Rykner

5. Small sculpted angels on the building
at the northwest corner of rue du Temple
and rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie
Paris
Photo : Didier Rykner


If the ABF did indeed grant a permit for the construction work (clearly displayed on the façade), we do not know if the owner declared this discovery as required. If so, we do not know if the ABF then agreed to have the vestiges covered up (which would seem incomprehensible). There is only one possible solution : restore and display this historic architectural discovery.

Version française


Didier Rykner, dimanche 5 mai 2013



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