"Art and Industry" at the Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Komara, Ann E, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
Wilson, Richard Guy, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
Meyer, Elizabeth, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia
Rainey, Reuben M., Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia

The Pare des Buttes Chaumont was one of two large new parks created during the citywide building program overseen by the Prefect of the Seine, Baron Georges Haussmann (1809-1891), under the reign of Emperor Napoleon III (d. 1873). The Pare reflected and supported Napoleon Ill's political, social, economic and aesthetic agendas in two ways: it contributed to the overall improvement and image of the city and it constituted France's only permanent exhibition of "Art and Industry" for the 1867 Exposition Universelle. Located in Paris' 19th arrondissement—one of the recently annexed working class areas—the sixty-two acre Pare materialized between 1864 and 1867 on a former quarry site. Jean-Charles Adolphe Alphand (1817-1891), a landscape designer and the city's Chief Engineer of Buildings and Roads, headed the design team at the Pare des Buttes Chaumont. His colleagues included the horticulturist Jean-Pierre Barillet Deschamps (1821-1873) and the architect Gabriel Davioud (1824- 1881). The results of their collaboration produced not only the Pare des Buttes Chaumont, but also numerous projects throughout the city: significant buildings and monuments, verdant parks and squares, and tree-lined boulevards.

Surrounding the construction of the Pare des Buttes Chaumont are nineteenth-century debates and tensions regarding such issues as: mass production versus art and craft; urbanism versus nature; industrialization versus the pastoral; the invention of new urban and building typologies; and the ideological role of design used to express national agendas. This thesis focuses on ways in which the Pare responded to an increasing French emphasis on industrial and commercial sectors of its economy and reflected aesthetic concerns attendant to the redesign of Paris. Alphand's use of the Picturesque style to design the Pare engaged the lineage of French picturesque landscape design theory and offered him an opportunity to emphasize qualities of the quarry site. His work responded to contemporary debates on "urban nature." In Paris, as elsewhere, landscapes became a mediating venue for cultural responses to industrialization and its attendant social and economic affects. Alphand embraced new technology and industrial materials to redefine the typology for an urban park; through using the Picturesque style, his projects engaged the nineteenth-century visitor in an evolving discourse with an "acceptably familiar" image of nature that was "deceptively unfamiliar" in its means of production and maintenance.

MA (Master of Arts)

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-02-19 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:37:01.

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