Is it art or art-I-choke?

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Not difficult to answer that question. The victim is the Château de Rentilly, not far from Paris. The article about this transformation is “Old French Château Gets a Shiny Modern Makeover as New Art Space,” on ifitshipits- (if it’s hip it’s here), a website, it appears, for submorons with really fat heads. The monstrous joke was completed in 2014. Fortunately, the desecration was accomplished in a manner that enables the removal of the disgusting exterior, or so it appears in photos, on some sane tomorrow. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the interior, though at least in theory it can be reconstructed. Art lovers, if that is really what they are to be called, will visit and retch. See it and weep.


A discussion ensued on the TradArch list about who or what was responsible for the above. Someone, not without reason, suggested the owner. Tim Kelly replied with a breakdown of blame that pretty much sums up the situation in the profession and the industry. He wrote:

  • It’s academia’s fault for producing architects trained to believe this a good and beneficial modification to the building.
  • It’s architectural media’s fault for publishing and praising these and similar projects, holding them up as standards to be emulated.
  • It’s the profession’s fault for rewarding these and similar projects with rewards and accolades.
  • It’s preservation’s fault for promoting an ethos that buildings are fixed, historic relics to their time rather than living things to be kept up and repaired to their intended conditions and place.
  • Its government’s fault for not protecting a people’s heritage.
  • And its our fault [those on the TradArch list, and classicists/traditionalists generally], in particular, for not having a stronger voice in advocacy, education, and exemplary built works that oppose that type of thinking. Though there are many hard-working people doing just that, consider this a call to redouble our efforts, be louder, work harder – to leave the garden!Blaming the owner, unfortunately, is a scapegoat. They were clearly a victim of predominant fashion.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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2 Responses to Is it art or art-I-choke?

  1. SteveMouzon says:

    But it looks like they raped both the exterior and the interior. Matter of fact, did they gut the entire interior? Can’t imagine that having been the original structure. I guess once the caulk cracks, they can pull the panels off and let the house continue as a ruin.


  2. Just like the Trump makeover of the Commodore Hotel into the NY Grand Hyatt.


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