Startha Éagsula: David Leech Architects on Barthélemy Enfantin

By David Leech

David Leech Architects, Barthélemy Enfantin’s two elevations and plans for Cité Militaire, 2020.
Barthélemy Enfantin (1796–1864), two elevations and plans, Cité Militaire, 1849. Watercolour, ink and pencil on paper, mounted, 295 × 350 mm. DMC 1700.

The colourful ink and pencil drawing of Barthélemy Enfantin seeks to establish a set of rules for a new open metropolis. Without site, set out in all axes, and with the edges of the drawing alluding to a non-determined repetition, it was possibly drawn for continuous reuse and translation.

Like a game of Chinese whispers our model becomes a twenty-first-century speculation. Contemporary filters distort our perception – new modelling techniques, modernism and Mies, all forming a new twin or non-identical clone. Mis-reading, mis-remembering and mis-taken.

In the coming weeks, we will be adding commentaries on the new additions to Alternative Histories made by Ireland-based practices. These commentaries can be found in full, and together with the original Irish participants in our new publication, Startha Éagsula, available here.

Model development drawings by David Leech Architects.

This text has been excerpted from Startha Éagsula / Alternative Histories (2020), a companion catalogue to Alternative Histories (2019) and published to accompany the third installation of Alternative Histories at the Irish Architectural Archive.

Startha Éagsula / Alternative Histories is now available to purchase from Drawing Matter’s bookshop, here.