Gothic Put to Use: The Viollet-le-Duc Album

Martin Bressani

This film is part of series of posts of selected papers from the study symposium at Shatwell Farm, hosted by Drawing Matter and convened by KU Leuven and TU Delft on 27 and 28 April 2023. More about the symposium, and other films and written papers, can be found here.

In this film, Martin Bressani discusses an album of survey drawings by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, examining closely the drawings themselves to understand both their socio-political and design functions. The presentation also includes an intriguing comparison of pages from Adolfo Natalini’s sketchbook 12, which was used while designing Superstudio’s Continuous Monument, and sheets from an album by Renaissance architect Giovanni Antonio Dosio to analyse how each addressed and integrated historical monuments in their architecture. Both albums and sketchbook pages can be viewed on Drawing Matter’s collection catalogue.


Martin Bressani, is Sir William C. Macdonald Professor at McGill
University’s Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture. He has held visiting
professorships at M.I.T, Cornell University, and Syracuse University and was a fellow at the Study Centre of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 2003. He has published in many of the topical forums for architectural debates and in scholarly journals. He is the author of a monograph on 19th-century French neo-gothic architect Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, Architecture and the Historical Imagination: Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (Ashgate, 2014), and co-editor of Gothic Revival Worldwide. A.W.N. Pugin’s Global Influence (Leuven University Press, 2017), The Companions to the History of Architecture—Nineteenth-Century Architecture (Wiley Blackwell, 2017), and, forthcoming in 2023 at MIT Press, Narrating the Globe: The Emergence of World Histories of Architecture.