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Chapelle Walcourt

Restoration of the Chapel

12th - 16th century

Certain ruins remain occupied  and their conservation does not appear necessary. Walcourt Chapel was an inhabited and lost ruin. The architectural option was to use the chapel as an ideal spot for « non-utilitarian » activities, a place illuminated by the light of the day and the silence of nature.

The architectural option chosen relies in the restitution of the volume and the interior area, and also includes a contemporary features. The timber framing was done in the style of « Philibert Delorme», using modern materials, such as plywoods and stainless steel feathers, as Philibert Delorme had already used on a similar work of the same date as Walcourt Chapel, in the north of Reims’ cemetery. The measured drawings of this similar work was made at the beginning of the XXth century by Henri Deneux. Therefore, these measured drawings were used as a guideline for the conservation of Walcourt Chapel. The bare interior still reminds us of the days when it was a ruin but in this century it carried its own heritage of « antique » poetry. The contemporary stained glass windows reflect the spirals of DNA, evocative of the « heritage » theme.

 

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Walcourt Chapel is symbolical of the quest of sublime so characteristic at the end of the « Lumières » century. The simlar chapel located at the north of Reims, was also designed to a central plan. It was built in 1788 by the Architect of the City of Reims, Nicolas Serrurier. His timber framing reminds us of Philibert Delorme’s. This feature was also picked up by Legrand and Molinos in the construction of the domed Corn Exchange designed by Roubo in 1783.

The apparent simplicity of its squared central plan is reinforced by the rigorous composition of its façades. The austere beauty of the local Givet dressed stone is highlighted by a massive antablature. Only the door casings provide more subtle patterns of shades and shadows.

The interior, with its cladding of brick works, creates a second skin which envelopes the chtonian space of this mini-Pantheon. The piles of shattered masonry, some barlotières,, a postcard (XXth century) and the excavation of the rubble enabled the researches to locate the dark purple slate debris, still with two nails at the middle intact, the veneers of red Morello and the Belgian blue marbles, are the main features found that helped for the establisment of a conservation guideline.

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  • LocationGivet
  • ClientDRAC Champagne-Ardenne/Ville de Givet
  • Schedule2006-2007
  • Cost/Area1,5 M €
  • TeamFrançois Chatillon, architect