© Patrick Tourneboeuf / Tendance Floue

CHÂTEAU DE VOLTAIRE

RESTORATION OF THE RESIDENCE OF THE PHILOSOPHER VOLTAIRE AND LAYOUT OF A MUSEUM PRESENTATION

Voltaire spent the last twenty years of his life in this château in Ferney, which he had built himself. It was here that he received the Calas family, wrote his Treatise on Tolerance, and became one of the leading exponents of the Enlightenment during the 18th century.

Untouched since it was purchased by the French State in 1999, the château needed restoration throughout in order to better accommodate the public. The project brought out all the site’s major heritage values since its construction, revisited the forgotten polychromy on its facades, and fitted out a space in the base of the building that can be used for exhibitions.

© Patrick Tourneboeuf / Tendance Floue
© Patrick Tourneboeuf / Tendance Floue

Here, the intention of the restoration and creation of a visitor programme is to provide dedicated spaces for the transmission of the ideas of one of the leading figures of the Enlightenment.

© Patrick Tourneboeuf / Tendance Floue
© Patrick Tourneboeuf / Tendance Floue

Many invaluable documents, plans, models, samples, and inventories held in St. Petersburg provide a precise description of the state of the château at the time of Voltaire’s death. However, major modifications made over time – the property was inhabited until the end of the 20th century – made it impossible to return the building to its original condition.

The choice was made to evoke the presence of Voltaire by means of a carefully chosen and modifiable presentation in his former apartments, to restore the alterations made by the different owners as a form of memorial during the 19th century, to recreate in certain rooms the best documented layouts to illustrate the domestic practices typical of the late 18th century, and to create a modern museum setting in the base of the house able to host cultural events.

© Patrick Tourneboeuf / Tendance Floue
© Patrick Tourneboeuf / Tendance Floue
Location
Ferney-Voltaire
Mission
Restoration
and adaptation
Programme
Culture
Contractor
Centre des monuments
nationaux
Team
Chatillon Architectes
Budget
€ 9m excl. VAT
Timetable
2010 – 2018