Such philosophies have been used in the evolution of architecture as it has changed. Many of these were obtained exclusively from prominent architects or artists who were honored during their lifetimes. Such ancient styles and viewpoints have been incorporated into contemporary architecture, while others have been contested by modern architects. The main point of contention has been their obsolescence or impracticability in the current sense. However, it is clear in today’s culture that most architects have chosen to combine the viewpoints of famous architects such as Viollet-le-Duc and Benjamin Bucknail. Viollet-le-Duc used the theory of an architect to give out his ideas of what bit really meant by upholding perfect architectural skills. Since his era, the theory has been disputed by other architectural moguls claiming it was relatively impracticable 1.

However, it is with no doubt that Viollet-le-Duc was a man who acted to his words. Most of his works were entirely described through the theory. In a nutshell, he used his ideas in all the buildings that he restored which pinpoints that they were practicable during his time. This paper seeks to explain the dimensions and the whole impact of the theory of an architect. It also explains the designs that were used following the theory. The paper goes further to explain the practicability of the theory in the modern-day architecture. Lastly the paper explains how the global cultural diversities may affect the choice of designs and its relation to the theory of an architect.

Design Ideology

Viollet-le-Duc sought to ensure that there was historic preservation when he was developing the theory of an architect. It was with an aim of ensuring that the essence of the traditional designs was applauded by all and sundry. As the father of modern architecture, Le-Duc acted adamant by holding to the fact that the ancient artistry, for example, the Greek designs should be practiced in modern architecture as a means of embracing the role of art in engineering. He asserted that design planning should be considered as a rational process some of these designs were used in the ancient architecture, and have been embraced in the modern architecture. An example is the gothic architecture design which was a concept applied by Viollet- le-Duc.

This design ideology applied the rational building systems which embraced a touch of modernity by using such materials like cast iron. Viollet-le-Duc also used the concept of using organic materials as a piece of art2. Despite the fact that gothic design had been termed as a very ancient style of buildings, Viollet-le-Duc transformed this style and restored its ancient touch in modern way. Since Viollet-le-Duc had been involved in building several cathedrals, he preferred this design in his works and buildings. Most of the civic setups and Churches that he designed applied the gothic design touch. The tenets of this design are attached to a religious conformity.

According to Viollet-le-Duc, Gothic style communicates the pride in faith or civic context. Despite the fact that Gothic style was used in the ecclesiastical architecture, articulating it in the modern architecture makes the building to stand out 2. As a scope of the gothic architecture, their still sands a number of modern day buildings which have embraced this design. Such countries like England and Spain still value the sense of creativity shown in the Gothic ideology. For example, Church of San Pablo in modern day Spain was designed in this style and has received positive comments which make the neoclassical style to stand out 2. Being a religiously accepted style of design, the global cultures have not posed any negative criticism. This means that most cultures still value the sense and picture drawn by Viollet-le-Duc’s modernized Gothic style. Furthermore, this design style helps in preservation of ancient cultural heritage 3.

After the gothic architecture, Viollet –le –Duc also championed for some of the renaissance design ideologies. Through this design ideology, there would be an availed opportunity to reincarnate some of the ancient Geek styles of buildings. This design was borrowed by Violet-le-Duc since he foresaw that the forthcoming modernization would lead to a demolition of most buildings that were designed using the renaissance ideology 2. Violet explains that only rational scholars will be able to see that renaissance had a serious observation of all geometrical and symmetry proportionality demands which explain why most of the roman buildings were still standing regardless of the many centuries they have passed through.

Through his writings, Viollet-le-Duc shows that embrace of the renaissance style in civilization will help in ensuring that heritage is preserved for the coming generations. It is stated that since the renaissance style emanates from the gothic mentality, articulating it in modern architecture will make it more relevant and useful in most architectural works. Heritage is attached to this design idea since it has classical antiquity that makes it distinct. Additionally, use of modern material is buildings while borrowing the sense of the renaissance ideology is a sure way of upholding uniquely outstanding art. The main tenets attached to this style are that it would conform perfectly in most contexts.

For example, it was politically, economically and socially relevant. This was in the sense that it could be borrowed when establishing civic buildings, religious buildings and commercial buildings like it had been used in building Venice. Viollet-le-Duc also wrote about how this design is practicable ad well designed for religious centers. The main essence of advocating for tis design is to ensure that the ancient French, Greek and general Roman cultural heritage was retained through the modern touch. Most the buildings which have been established following the renaissance style 1..

Philosophical perspectives of this style were also not an exception. Some famous philosophers’ sculptors were later made following the guidelines of the renaissance form. Viollet-le-Duc did not advocate for demolition of structures and buildings which were made in this ancient design. He sought to ensure that at least the heritage of the society was retained and embraced by the following generations 2. The theory of an architect points out that proportionality and scales sued in the whole geometry of all renaissance buildings were based on savvy thinking which explains why these structures have seen a great existence without being affected by the landscape or geographical extremities. I

t has facades, pilasters, arches, vaults, domes which have given it a great taste especially when borrowed in modern architecture 1. The design style has mainly been used in Italy and Spain. However, while advocating for renaissance usage in modernity; Viollet-le-Duc faced several criticism from the like of John Ruskin. Ruskin asserted that Viollet-le-Duc’s postulations ware impracticable. It was also termed as a valueless approach. This was a way of discouraging Le-Duc’s restorative measures by advocating for no demolitions to renascent buildings.

The next design ideology used was the baroque style. In his 1843 report, Viollet-le-Duc sought to restore most medieval buildings. Min France his main reason was due to the fact that most of these medieval buildings were becoming forcibly extinct. They were being demolished. Demolition was tantamount to erasing the cultural heritage of the society. Therefore, he opted to start restorative measures of most ancient buildings. Through such measures, Viollet-le-Duc aimed at ensuring that France retained the historical sites that had existed over several centuries.

He would also modify the baroque design according to the modernity demands. Through the theory of an architect, Viollet-le-Duc sought to pass a message that the external appearance of the baroque designs should reflect the internal appearance. To bring a better appearance of internal, choice of the right materials was necessary. Baroque was an ornate blend of the renaissance and the gothic designs. Restoration of baroque buildings will be handy especially in decorative architecture. This design was best applicable in Italy, Spain, Austria and France where the cultural heritage favored the design.

It was used most religious, civic and economic set ups/. It had domes and facades which were embraced by most designers. The fact that Viollet-le Duc advocated for restoration of baroque buildings, it’s clear that this design would later favor art nouveau movements. He borrowed a fact that it will be applicable especially in the works of Victor Horta, and Antoni Gaudi. His writings about the relative essence of baroque neoclassic were a source of inspiration to modern day architects like Frank Lloyd and Louis Sullivan. He further stated that there was no benefit of losing originality.

This is because, once originality has been lost, there is no sense of authenticity in the monument. Through such assertions, Viollet sought to enhance the works of his predecessors. He was indeed advocating and building concepts on their ideas. The fact that his intentions were to build and restore the lost authenticity shows that, he was not a demeanor of ancient architecture like some of his opponents claimed. Culturally, his activities are acceptable. This is because; there is no culture that does not uphold the sense of authenticity. Authenticity and design originality is the basic source of the sense of belonging which unifies the cultural heritages.

Point of View.

Viollet-Le-Duc assertions were sound. I agree with his postulations and attempts to save the sense of originality of architectural designs. Furthermore, he champions for the art nouveau. This is a good source of harnessing creativity within architectural engineering. Borrowing from the past better than wasting time thinking of newer designs. Ancient architecture is portrayed to be rich in terms of creativity ad designs. This gives an idea that retaining authenticity provides the niche to embrace the works of long gone architects who left unbillable footsteps for the modern day architects to follow.

The fact that he is criticized by other, his works which are a reflection of his writings show that indeed he was sound when he attempted to advocate for the basic essence of retaining cultural heritage. His main motive of ensuring that thee ancient designs are restored, especially the medieval buildings which are important historical sites to date was a good move to ensure that modern touch of architecture does not erase the ancient architectural diversities. It was also a good sense in adding new element to ancient designs. It is a good source of architectural creativity.

The fact that most of his restored buildings portrayed a newer appearance and taste explains why he is an individual who is worth copying from as architecture. It is also evident that since he was commissioned to restructure the inside of the famous statue of liberty explains why his point of view is one by given a standing ovation. Lastly, judging from a modern stance, his postulations are not outdated. Restoration of ancient buildings should be the trend in modern architecture. It will be possible to articulate the modern society with the ancient cultural heritage thereby creating a haven for further creativities and development.


The theory of an architect by Viollet-le-Duc is perfect way of encouraging the modern society to embrace the basic essence of ensuring that architecture in society plays a paramount role. Viollet-le-Duc advocates for sanity when it comes to management of architectural activities. He discourages loads of work when it can be substituted with divide labor for quality output. This is a Descartes’ point of view. Unlike Ruskin, Viollet-le-Duc maintains that finding uniqueness from scratch is not an easy task. Rather, the society should use the available monuments to develop newer ideas like he did in his restorative moves of the ancient buildings. In as much as uniqueness is to be observed, the sense of authenticity should be left out. This will only be possible if most of Viollet-le-Duc’s directives are followed in all architectural engagements. Some of the modern day architectures like Antoni Gaudi and Frank Lloyd Wright, have embraced the sense of blending the various ancient architectural designs thereby y proving the fact that le-Duc is right and his assertions are practicable.


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Viollet-le-Duc, Eugène-Emmanuel, and Hearn, M. F. 1938- (Millard Fillmore). The Architectural Theory of Viollet-Le-Duc: Readings and Commentary. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1990

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