HERITAGE For three years, an association from Lyon has been campaigning for the work of Tony Garnier to be submitted to UNESCO heritage in order to preserve its buildings. But, the city of Lyon, whose support is essential, is not in favor
- For three years, some forty researchers, historians and architects from Lyon have been struggling to put together a file in order to register the work of Tony Garnier – star architect of Lyon – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Problem: the city of Lyon does not want to engage in the process. However, without the support of the State and local authorities, the association carrying the file will never be able to submit it directly to the international body.
- If the city considers that the probability of seeing this file is “almost nil” given the waiting times, the association warns that the buildings of Tony Garnier risk disappearing within several decades.
In 50 or 70 years, what will remain of the work of the architect Tony Garnier in the city? Lyon? “The existing protections on certain buildings as historical monuments were not enough to prevent their transformation, see their demolition”, notes Pierre Gras, the president of the association of prefiguration of the institute Tony Garnier and doctor in history. Witness the Gerland stadium, which has only kept as its four historic arches. Or the partially destroyed Gerland swimming pool, of which only the diving board and bleachers have been removed. spared.
The buildings and buildings designed by the architect from Lyon will gradually become centenarians. The risk that they are not preserved in their entirety; is important, warns Pierre Gras. “We must act on the recognition of Tony Garnier’s work. Otherwise, it will weaken. It will fade,” he predicts. For this, the association has been campaigning for two years to have seven buildings listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Vacherie in the Parc de la Tête d’Or, the Halle Tony Garnier, the city of Catherine Garnier , the city United States, the Gros villa, the Martinière-Diderot high school, as well as the Boulogne-Billancourt City Hall.
A “precursor” which counted “20 to 30 years ahead”
If the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs finds the case interesting and the municipality of Boulogne-Billancourt has already committed to energetically support the project, the city of Lyon is on the other hand much more timid, not to say reluctant. Strange when you know how to how much Tony Garnier has shaped; the city and structured it during the interwar period.
“He was one of the most important architects of his generation. He was a forerunner who counted 20 to 20 years. 30 years ahead of the modern movement. He has also greatly inspired Le Corbusier. It has been an innovator in the field of concrete and left a considerable heritage legacy”, lists the researcher for whom Tony Garnier”s reputation goes far beyond the borders of Lyon.
””Return” ; elected ecologists
Only, without the support of the communities and the State, the association will not be able to present its case because it does not have the power to directly appeal to the international organization. “We feel that it’s not a priority; of the city of Lyon”, regrets Pierre Gras, surprised at “”turnaround” of the majority. During the municipal campaign, the environmental candidates, including Grégory Doucet, pledged to “enhancing built monuments” by its star architect.
“The constructions within the grounds of the Gerland stadium or the relegation of the pavilions to the Place des Pavillons are difficult to accept situations, against which we wish to fight,” they affirmed in a letter that 20 Minutes was able to consult, making the promise to launch an “independent heritage study on the entire work” by Tony Garnier to “strengthen current protection arrangements” buildings.
But above all, the candidates then ensured “s’commit” to launch a “multi-site” application for the inscription of all of Garnier’s work as a World Heritage Site; by Unesco”, in partnership with the city of Boulogne and with the support of the State.
A very long procedure without guarantees
Since then, months have passed. A global inventory of the many heritage studies relating to Tony Garnier's creations at; Lyon was launched. They have been deemed “very qualitative and complete” by the City, at with the exception of two of them concerning the Vacherie building and the Martinière-Diderot high school which will soon be the subject of an additional study. On the other hand, it is no longer a question of submitting a “multi-site” application.
“It turns out that the duration of the Unesco process does not guarantee immediate protection” of this heritage, responds the City of Lyon. The case will probably take years to process. to be studied. “France already has 49 sites that are recognized and I believe that we have about forty in the queue. In the best of cases, this queue will be locked in about forty years,” said heritage assistant Sylvain Godinot in the columns of Progrèem >. For the chosen one, the “probability; of success” is “at” almost nil”.
There is also no guarantee that this approach can provide “protection” to buildings, nor “resources”, insists the municipal team, which will invest 10 million euros in heritage by the end of the mandate. And to add: “We share the will of protection of this heritage, but that does not depend solely on the City.” Or at To date, “the file is not supported by France”, underlines Sylvain Godinot.
Not enough to convince Pierre Gras who sees in these answers “reluctance in principle.” “What we lack is a word, a will; politics,” he laments, however lucid about the length of the procedure. “You don’t expect to be graded. within five years of come but put together a file can help us to protect all this heritage. It’s there; our priority, he insists. Unesco is a business card, a lever for discussions. This can change the way we look at Tony Garnier’s work. We really need to get to know the richness of this heritage.” Otherwise, it will probably be too late, he predicts one last time.