The coats of arms of Villeneuve-sur-Lot are on display in the Gajac Museum

The coats of arms of Villeneuve-sur-Lot are on display in the Gajac Museum

Architect’s plans, pencil drawings, slide shows of period photographs… these are the elements of the extraordinary new exhibition that the Gajak Museum is hosting until December 13. “Arch’iconiques”, composed of documents extracted from the municipal archives, is the third and final episode of the trilogy…

Architect’s plans, pencil drawings, slide shows of period photographs… these are the elements of the extraordinary new exhibition that the Gajak Museum is hosting until December 13. “Arch’iconiques”, composed of documents extracted from the municipal archives, is the third and final episode of the triptych dedicated to the architectural heritage of Villeneuve-sur-Lotte.

Following the monumental construction by Olivier Grossetet, the installation of paper structures in different rooms of the museum “Arch’iconic” takes on a historical character by displaying the different stages of construction of three emblematic buildings of the palace: the Church of St. Catherine, the Bridge of Liberation and the Georges League Theatre. Building permits and architect’s plans for some notable homes complete this immersion in the transformation of Villeneuve-sur-Lotte during the 20th century.H a century. “They are the most striking elements of the very modern look that George Legge wanted to give the city,” emphasizes Helen Lages, curator of the museum.

On the walls, the famous signatures of Tronchet, Freycinet, Couroyer and Roy appear at the bottom of plans and projects taken from drawers, just like studies for the frescoes of Saint Catherine. In the center of the room, the plasters that were used for different elements of the church allow you to discover details that are difficult to see in situ on the tops of the columns.

Impact of the first war

But “Arch’iconiques” goes beyond the artistic realm. The exposition is mainly historical. We discover that before the theatre, Georges Legge wanted to build a public house, combining within its walls a library, a theater and a museum: “But the war of 1914-1918 would cause the project to fall into oblivion,” says Hélène Legge. At the end of the war, he preferred to offer Villeneuve a theater with a seating capacity of 800 seat.” » An imposing size for the time. Construction of the Liberation Bridge was also interrupted during World War I, “which meant that the tramway, for which it was initially built, almost never passed over it. When it was completed in the 1920s, the means of transport These are almost obsolete. »

“They are the most striking elements of the ultra-modern look that George Legge wanted to give the city.”

Finally, “Arch’iconiques” reveals the different designs proposed for the Church of St. Catherine, whose style benefited from the fashion phenomenon of the 1930s, which favored Roman-Byzantine art. “Thanks to this specificity, today it is classified as a historical monument,” emphasizes Hélène Lages. We had to dare, in the early twentiesH century, building a new church of this size. »

The exhibition ends with more recent plans for houses from the 1950s “formalized according to the new city planning standards that emerged at the time,” and the first public housing projects, the Pont de Marot, and Avenue Georges Lecomte. “The demand for housing was very strong at that time because even after the war, families lived in the same house for several generations. In the 1950s, young couples aspired to independence. »

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