Alberti confronted to the contemporary environmental concerns (french)

Reading notes : On the art of building, Leon Battista Alberti (1485)

The environmental concerns and their implications in the society constitute an omnipresent subject for a few years, particularly in the field of architecture. No project is lacking in ecological skills… in theory at least.

Beyond this commercial vision of the sustainable development, it seems more relevant to advocate a more global and coherent approach. Thus, it’s necessary to set aside the last technological innovations in the construction and to grasp the subject in the light of older architectural practices. There is indeed in the architecture a constancy of the problems that are encountered by the designers. Even if the terms of «ecology» or «sustainable development» are quite recent, it’s nevertheless possible to detect, in the older buildings, some practices that are close to what we nowadays name a sustainable approach.

This study aims to link these contemporary issues with an old text (and maybe unexpected in this field) : De Re Aedificatoria (On the art of Building) by Leon Battista Alberti. Published in 1485, this book constitute one of the founding treaties of architecture, and the first modern description of the architect’s role. The objective here is to initiate a contemporary interpretation of Alberti’s discourse, confronting the text with the issues of the sustainable design.

ENSAN – 4th year (2011-2012)
Teacher : H. Gaff