LETTRE DE KENNETH FRAMPTON A JEAN-NOEL GUÉRINI LE 6 AVRIL 2012
April 6, 2012
M. Jean-Noël Guérini
Président du CG13
Hôtel du Département
52 Avenue de Saint Just
Re: Musée départemental Arles Antique
Monsieur Jean-Noël Guérini
No words can adequately express the shock and repulsion I felt when I learnt about the barbaric intervention that your administration has seen fit to inflict on one of the most masterly buildings to have been realized in France over the past decade. It is evident that you proceeded with the wanton partial demolition of this work in a clandestine manner, overnight as it were, in order to present the world with a fait accompli that cannot be readily remedied. So far I totally fail to understand what can have possibly been a plausible raison d'être to justify this act of gratuitous cultural violence. The fact that this building had to be added to on what is admittedly a rather restricted site, does not really justify such a brutal intervention. Anyone who has a command of architecture and who is aware of the structure of this building will immediately realize that with a modicum of ingenuity it may be added to by building on top of the central core of the museum and this is still the case even now, despite your gratuitous decision to inflict irreparable damage on a major portion of work. This provincial, gratuitous act is a disgrace to the cultural heritage of France and an act of wanton destruction with respect to patrimony of the region. Tell me how can Marseille, and its attendant region, serve as the European Cultural Capital of 2013 with this particular blot on its cultural reputation.
I hope that on reflection you will decide to take another course of action with regard to augmenting the size of the building and in due time find a way to restore the perimeter of the structure to its original form.
Ware Professor of Architecture