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Victor Horta and building site photography

Medium: conference paper
Language(s): en 
Conference: 6th International Congress on Construction History (6ICCH 2018), July 9-13, 2018, Brussels, Belgium
Published in:
Year: 2018
Abstract: Building site photographs are among the most spectacular archival documents available for Victor Horta's public commissions of the Brussels' Brugmann Hospital (1906–23) and the Palais des Beaux-Arts (1922–28). This paper investigates how these often-published but rarely studied photographic documents functioned in the architectural practice. Archival documents on the construction of the Brugmann Hospital sheds light on the architect's use of building site photographs as an instrument to control the building process from keeping record of the successive building stages up to their utility in addressing contractor's responsibilities in court. Horta's deployment of images of the Palais des Beaux-Arts under construction in a monograph article illustrates their use as a tool of auto-representation. Both cases demonstrate a clear engagement in the medium of photography, quite in line with his involvement in the taking of pictures at the time of the early reception of his work or during his travels abroad.


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