May 27, 2010

Didier Lobert de Bouillon Viéville, Donjon



the donjon at St Germain s. Avre,
picture kleretnet (Panoramio)

Life and works 

Didier Lobert de Bouillon Viéville (1934) was born near Saint Germain sur Avre, in Normandy (France). He went to live in Paris, where he had jobs as an industrial designer and secretary of art galleries. In 1968 -the year of the student's revolt- he had his own revolution and he returned to the countryside where he was born.

His deepest wish always had been to be a visual artist. So, once back in Normandy, he wanted to build a studio where he could make paintings and he decided to construct an annex to the family house. That was some thirty years ago.

The annex should become kind of a tower, that would fit in the lovely landscape of the valley of the Avre river. The idea was to build a dungeon in a medieval style.

When I wrote the original version of this post, I thought Lobert had Viollet le Duc in mind, but according to Sylvaine Lobert, his daughter, Lobert was not inspired by this architect - see her comment on this note.

I now understand Lobert was inspired by the medieval architecture of the period of transition in between the roman and the gothic style, and probably also by the defensive constructs of old, in the Avre area, once the frontier between Normandy and France. So, he is working in the XIIth and XIIIth century tradition.

I have the strong feeling that the look of his creative construct answers to the image of a medieval castle we all have in our subconscious
.


this and next picture France 3

Lobert de Bouillon Viéville has constructed this 21 meters high structure with his own hands, without any training as an architect, mason or constructor. The construction was made step-by-step, more based upon creative insight, intuition and common sense than on a fully worked out plan.

Lobert has used modern construction materials, such as reinforced concrete and breeze or cinder blocks cut in two. He has succeeded in giving the material a medieval look.



The interior also has a medieval atmosphere, with vaults, a spiral staircase, and so on.

In the course of 2010 the construction project could be considered as almost finished.

However, a new project is looming. Lobert de Bouillon Viéville, although nowadays in his seventies, has begun renovating his house. It should become kind of an abbey. A medieval one? Of course!

summer festivities around the donjon, august 2010
picture from the website les Amis du Donjon 
(website no longer available)
  
Documentation/more pictures
* Article on SPACES website (2012)
* Article in french journal Le Post (april 2010), with video
* Article in weblog Après la pub (april 2012)

first published may 2010, revised jun 2010, dec 2011, dec 2012, oct, dec 2014

Didier Lobert de Bouillon Viéville
Donjon
route de Mesnil
Saint Germain sur Avre, Haute Normandie, FR
the last weekend of August will see festivities near the donjon

2 comments:

  1. Merci pour votre bel article, qui fait la part du rève. je précise toutefois que mon père ne se réclame pas de viollet Le Duc, cité par erreur par la journaliste. Sa démarche est très différente.
    nous sommes en train de créer une assocation et un site internet donnera bientôt plus d'explications.
    toutefois pour aller dans votre sens je vous suggère de regarder le site tout à fait étonnant d'un autre passionné créateur de château époustoufflant, et qui a pu inspirer Walt Disney,( mais détruit pendant la guerre), également en solitaire et également avec du béton, qui a oeuvré au XIXème siècle, sous le nom de Charles de Boulogne, à Boulogne la Grasse, près de Coucy le Chateau. Mon père et moi n'avons découvert ce fait étonnant que très recemment grâce à la visite au donjon de deux journalistes néerlandais ( dont nous n'avons hélas plus de nouvelles), Peter et Rita Bogaert, qui connaissaient cela.Bien cordialement, sylvaie LOBERT, fille de l'artiste.

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  2. Cher Mme Lobert, Merci bien pour votre note. Je vais amélorier le texte de mon article. Et je vais chercher des nouvelles sur le site que vous mentionnez, près de Coucy le Chateau (le chateau à Couchy a été détruit dans la Guerre Mondial I). Beaucoup de succes avec le website sur la création de votre père.
    Cordialement, Henk van Es

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