Defacement of Arc de Triomphe



The topic of this project was the defacement of the Parisian urbanscape. For example, Parc de la Villette at the Northern border of Paris used to be a slaughterhouse, and Bernard Tschumi deconstructs the place to be a park. At the same time, his urban design was based on the original architecture of the slaughterhouse. The student has to create an embody of work, which documents a specific Parisian scape with an interpretation of historical events or facts of the place. As the topic is defacement, the past event should have a sense of negativity. This painting embodies the defacement of the arc de Triomphe. Arc de Triomphe has vandalized during the yellow vest movement in 2019, and this work is to visualize the aspect of the event in abstraction. The shape of the new Arc de Triomphe was inspired by fire, as it was created after heating a model of Arc de Triomphe made from Plexiglas.



 

Research


Arc de Triomphe 

The Arc de Triomphe is known as one of the most popular touristic locations in Paris. It is a monument to honor the ones who fought and died for the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars. It wasdesigned by Jean Chalgrin in 1806. The sculptures in this gigantic 5 meters Neoclassical architecture famously visualize
the heroic nude of French youth defeating Germanic soldiers in chainmail. It was
commissioned when Emperor Napoleon on the battle of Austerlitz against the Russian and Austrian army led by Emperor Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The monument is a memorial of a French victory.

Gilets Jaunes in Champ-Élysées

On December 1st, 2018, the yellow vest movement, the self-named Gilet Jaunes undertook their third “act.” The massive protest was originally motivated by rising fuel prices and a high cost of living. It was claimed that the French government’s tax reforms placed an unfair burden on the middle class. As the demonstration escalated, the destruction of Paris became a fact. Some of the biggest damage was done around the Champs-Élysées area, and the Arc de Triomphe itself was vandalized. The total cost of the damage was estimated at 3 - 4 million euros and more than 100 cars were burned in Paris on this day. The Champs-Élysées area is one of the most popular and famous touristic destinations in Paris and is also recognized as one of the most expensive areas. On the street of Avenue de Champs-Elysse, there are many luxury brand shops; in fact,  stores such as Hugo Boss, Bulgari, Celio, Foot Locker, Tara Jarmon, Lacoste, Longchamp, Nespresso, Nike, Yves Rocher, Samsung, Swarovski, and Weston all attacked on the street, while protestors were shouting “Revolution!” and “To the Élysées!” Today, it is logical to call the Arc de Triomphe as the symbol of rich since it stands on top of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, so it makes sense that protestors targetted this place. It is a battle between those who feed on the tax and ones who are eaten by the tax - between rich and poor.

La Villette

La Villette is a park located on the northern border of Paris. It used to be a slaughterhouse, but architect Bernard Tschumi won the competition to reconstruct the grounds of the decommissioned slaughterhouse in 1982-83. Tschumi designed the site with three layers of grids. Each layer had its own construction; the first layer comprised the pure landscape of the park, the second layer was a grid, which designated the position of red Folies, and which deformed the pieces of the slaughterhouse, and the third layer was used to segregate the site and to create independent scenarios in the park. The combination of three constructions generated a random meeting point, which created chaotic compositions. The second layer, in particular, provided the expression of anti-functionality, this layer emphasized several random atmospheres in one place. This extremely contemporary urban planning completely deconstructed the mood of the slaughterhouse, and today it is considered as a center for art, culture and science in Paris.

Deconstructionism

Deconstructionism is considered part of the post-modern movement, which appeared in the 1980s. The notion was developed by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, and the architects such as Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Bernard Tschumi are often described as deconstructionists. The form of deconstructed architectures is often described as featuring distorted and dislocated elements of architecture. The visualization appears to characterize unpredictable and controlled chaos. Postmodernism is also an artistic movement that criticizes the evolution from industrialization, as the deconstructivism rejects the purity and simplicity of modernism.

Experimentation


IDEA 1

Method:
1. Deconstruct the shape of the Arc de Triomphe by symbolic elements of gilets jaunes.
- Gilet Jaune Jacket
- Tear Gas
2. Build a tower from the scratches that remian.
Concept:
Rebuild an observatory from the pieces left. The real function of the Arc de
Triomphe today is the observatory tower. The beautiful landscape of Paris
with Effiel Tower definitely attracts tourists, and that is the core reason
why this place is such a popular location in theory. It is a way to minimize
the concept and show the true needs of this architecture.
IDEA 2 “Burned”

Process:
1. Create simplest version of the Arc de Triomphe model with transparent paper.
Then burn it with a lighter.
2. Create a 3D mock up inspired from the shape of the model.
3. Create the mockup with plaxiglass. Burn it with a heat gun. To deconstruct the
shape of Arc de Triomphe with the shape inspired from the distortion of fire.
Why...?
- Fire is a symbol of destruction, and it is an element that can be linked to Act
3; about 100 cars were burned on the day in Paris. Not only cars but also garbage,
blockers, and even trees. Basically anything on the street had the potential to be
fired. For this deconstruction, the form is decided after creating a burned arc de
Triomphe with transparent paper. Respecting the deconstructivists often creates
the shape of architecture by distorting a simple shape. Sometimes the surface of
architecture waves, it can be sliced or it can be a completely random collage with
different materials. This idea comes from the concept of “distorting the material”
in deconstructivism. The symbolic element of destruction reshape the Arc de Triomphe
into something that could not have done 200 years ago.