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The Museum of Heroic Victory

Part 2 Project 2014
Marc Alexander Turnier
Newcastle University, UK
Architectural representation is the particular way in which designers decisions are influenced by the media deployed; and how these influences are transformed into an architectural response. The military is an extreme of this - an idealistic environment is created, detached from the world, viewed through a particular lens, and manifested in reality. Through an exploration into institutionalised masculinity within the military, this investigation encompasses ways of manipulating the ideological and real world through the testing of architectural representation.

This process-led research focuses on semiotic, masculine representations of Napoleon’s body through portraiture and monuments by interpreting theories, illustrative techniques and thorough analysis of the body and iconography. The Museum is located on the River Seine, central Paris. An examination of the preserved militarised city and the spatial instigation of Napoleon’s monuments (Vendome Column, Arc de Triomphe, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Les Invalides, Obelisk du Luxor) was undertaken. Alongside the cataloguing of key monuments, a study into the portraiture of Napoleon was developed, illustrating events leading up to Napoleon’s empirical reign and his inglorious death.

Napoleon successfully manipulated civic ideals in the 1800s creating a new visual conception of power, helping him to crown himself the Emperor of France. This thesis works to extract and de-construct the fragments of masculinity from within the highly symbolic portraits and reconstitutes them, as an imposition over Paris. These exposed fragments of French history construct ‘The Museum of Heroic Victory’, a dedicated architectural exhibition space to masculinity, converging in an idealistic augmented landscape.

The Museum is a spatial monument to masculine ideologies, manifested in Napoleonic-scale over Paris. The internal organisation of the museum charts particular atmospheres derived from the battle scenes depicted in each portrait. The central body of the museum represents the deterioration and demise of Napoleon’s physical and mental state, as seen in his final portrait. This central chamber is designed to disintegrate over time, gradually filling up the river with flayed detritus from the buildings skin, in this way the buildings deterioration attempts to fulfil Napoleons last wish of having his ashes returned to the banks of the Seine.

Marc Alexander Turnier


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