Chief Architect of Historic Monuments

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In France, the chief architect of national historic monuments is an architect specializing in the restoration of a building, a group of monuments or in the enhancement of a site, classified for its historical, archaeological, aesthetic and/or landscapes. There are thirty-nine chief architects in France (in 2017), sometimes referred to by the acronym ACMH.

Their original status makes them both civil servants and liberal professionals in private law.


The French Service for Historic Monuments was created in 1830 with the appointment of an inspector general, Ludovic Vitet, succeeded in 1834 by the writer and historian Prosper Mérimée; in 1837, the Historic Monuments Commission (Comission de Monuments Historiques) was created.

The first architects to whom the commission took, in 1840, the decision to entrust the direction of the most important works were those who had stood out for their interest in medieval buildings. Afterwards, they relinquished such tasks to their superiors on the Commission, after having proven their worth as agency collaborators and then as works inspectors. The commission also recruited young architects who "recommended special studies and who were passionate about the history of monuments of past centuries" (Du Sommerard)  .

Eugene Emmanuel Violet-le-Duc, despite his influence, had unsuccessfully called for the creation of a course in medieval architecture: it was not created until 1887 by Anatole de Baudot, at the Palais du Trocadéro in Paris , followed in 1893 the first competition for the recruitment of chief architects of historic monuments (ACMH).

The first architectural competition for Monuments was announced on July 28, 1893; it led to the admission, on March 5, 1894, of MM. Benouville, Nodet and Roy. On March 30, 1897, the Minister decided that the architects attached to the Commission would take the title of Chief Architect of Historical Monuments and that they would be placed at the head of a region, as opposed to a discrete collection of individual sites which they were entrusted with managing.

Following the separation of the Church and the State , which took place in 1905, and the abolition of the Ministry of Worship, the body of diocesan architects, in charge of work on the cathedrals, was attached to that of historical monuments.

In 1907, a decree organized the body of chief architects of historic monuments: they were assigned a geographical area and were, for a time, assisted by ordinary architects who took care of the maintenance of the monuments and the monitoring of the work sites. From 1946, the strict upkeep of historical monuments and their surroundings was entrusted to the Architectes des bâtiments de France, the body of which has just been created. In 1991, the extinction of the body of Architectes des bâtiments civils et palais nationaux led to assigning the task of maintaining state buildings classified as historical monuments to the Architects des bâtiments de France. The inclusion of the term “national” (ACMHN) was added by the decree of December 12, 2005 (JORF of 30).

The missions of the chief architects have adapted to the progressive extension of the notion of heritage and historic monument to new categories of buildings (urban, industrial, marine, landscape architecture and gardens), to buildings which belong to different eras, and those that use new types of materials (constructions in iron, cement or reinforced concrete, glass, etc.).

Law and Purpose[edit]

The chief architects of historical monuments are recruited through a national competition. They have the status of State agent, but exercised freely within their own agency: this provision aims to respond to the fluctuating nature of irregular activity (the State is not required to provide them with an order), which private activity balances. The chief architects of historic monuments are remunerated in the form of vacancies (for consulting missions) and fees (for project management missions) according to a formula established according to the complexity of the project and the amount of the work.

The chief architects are in charge of the missions defined by decree number 2007-1405 of September 28, 2007 relating to the special status of the body of the chief architects of historical monuments: they bring their support to the Minister of Culture in the accomplishment of his mission protection, conservation and enhancement of the architectural heritage.

Advice, Counsel, and Assistance[edit]

As such, Architects-in-Chief of Historic Monuments fulfill a mission of advice, advice and assistance to the services of the Ministry of Culture for classified and registered buildings, and in particular:

  • Opinion on buildings likely to be proposed for protection; as such, they participate in the regional heritage and architecture commissions and, if need be, in the “National Heritage and Architecture Commission” - CNPA - based in Paris).
  • Monitoring of the sanitary condition of protected buildings jointly with the architects of buildings in France.
  • Opinion on the work proposals issued by the owners of classified buildings, and verification of the conformity of the work with the authorized projects.
  • Proposals for the annual programming of works financed by the Ministry of Culture for historical monuments

These advice, advice and assistance missions are carried out at the express initiative of the DRACs (which now requests them very exceptionally) or of the Ministry (again exceptionally).


Regardless of their function as advisor to the Minister of Culture, the status of the chief architects of historical monuments includes the mandatory use their prime contractor for restoration work on a listed building owned (Decree of September 28, 2007), both for the preparation of projects or quotes and for the direction of the execution of the works.

This exclusivity of the project management, previously applicable to all buildings classified MH, now only applies to buildings belonging to the State. Restoration work on other buildings classified as MH is now open to competition from architects holding a DSA Architecture and Heritage (graduates of the Chaillot school or other DSA) and having ten years of experience in the restoration of old buildings, according to the provisions of decree no. 2009-749 of June 22, 2009, codified in Articles R. 621-26 and 28 of the Heritage Code. Conversely, interventions on buildings listed as Historic Monuments, while being subject to a building permit, are unfortunately very rarely carried out under the supervision of a specialist architect insofar as the texts do not require it. However, a large number of buildings registered with MH are awaiting classification

The missions of the chief architect are carried out within the framework of the geographical area which is entrusted to him by order of the Minister. They may nevertheless be entrusted by the Minister, on special missions, with responsibility for monuments of national interest known as "outside the constituency" (for example: the Louvre; the Hôtel national des Invalides and the Church of Val-de-Grâce in Paris; the cathedrals of Amiens, Paris, Chartres, Rouen, Reims, and others; the Château de Vincennes and the national domain of Versailles or Fontainebleau, etc.).

Scope of Duties[edit]

List of Chief Architects of Historic Monuments admitted by competition[edit]

  • 5 March 1894 : Léon Benouville, Nodet, Roy
  • 1898-1899 : Vincent (1866-1921), Émile Édouard Brunet
  • 21 May1905 : Deneux, Paquet, Hardion, Ventre, Sallez, Senès, Tillet, Collin, Sardou et dans les limites des vacances : Moreau, Goubert, Guet, Haubold ; et sont nommés architectes en chef : Henri-Louis Deneux, Pierre Paquet et Hardion ;
  • 17 November 1906 : André Paul Jean Ventre, Lucien Joseph Sallez, Jules Edme Emmanuel Tillet, André Jules Collin, Pierre Sardou
  • 12 June 1907 : Moreau, Alphonse Michel Goubert, Gabriel Gaston Georges Guët et Bernard Haubold
  • 21 July 1913 : MM. Balleyguier, Marcel, Mayeux et Vinson, nommés sans examen issus des architectes diocésains ; au concours Eugène Joseph Ratier, Marie Henri Robert Danis, Louis Jean Hulot, Maurice Jacques Malard.
  • 1920 : Jean Marie Trouvelot, Jules Formigé, Ernest Herpe, Paul Vorin (1920-1943[1]), Gauthier (1861-1926), Marcel Désiré Poutaraud, Henri Marie Raphaël Nodet, Paul Louis Genuys, Charles-Henri Besnard, Patrice Bonnet, Paul Henri Alfred Gelis, Armand Constant Guéritte.
  • 1923 : Henri Émile Huignard, Charles Louis Halley, Julien Polti, Jules Kaehrling, Albert-Louis Bray
  • 1925 : Eugène Marie Harot, Lucien Édouard Prieur, Louis Laurent Émile Barbier, Gabriel Ludovic Brun, Maurice Louis Lotte, Albert Léon Chauvel, Marcel André Texier, Chaine.
  • 1935 : Maurice Berry, Jean-Fernand Creuzot, Roger Deperthes, Yves-Marie Froidevaux, Marcel Kopp, Jean-Pierre Paquet, Paul Pillet, André Sallez, Bernard Vitry.
  • 1942 : Robert Camelot, Paul Colas, Raymond Cornon, Henri Jullien, Jean Merlet, Bertrand Monnet, Michel Ranjard.
  • 1946 : André Donzet, Charles Dorian, Maurice Dufour, Georges Jouven, Pierre Lablaude, Jacques Laurent, Camille Leprévots, Michel Mastorakis, Robert Renard, Sylvin Stym-Popper, Charles Waldschmidt.
  • 1948 : René Lisch, Pierre Lotte, Jean Sonnier, Robert Vassas.
  • 1956 : Georges Duval, Michel Hermite, Pierre Prunet, Jean Rocard.
  • 1963 : Yves Boiret, Pierre Lebouteux, André Lemort, Jean-Claude Rochette.
  • 1970 : Charles Abadie, Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Pierre Jouve, Guy Nicot, Jacques Traverse.
  • 1973 : Bernard Colette, Jean-Pierre Dufoix, Bernard Fonquernie, Alain Gigot, Jean-Gabriel Mortamet, Dominique Moufle, Jean-Claude Yarmola.
  • 1974 : Hervé Baptiste, François Corouge, Daniel Gaymard, Michel Jantzen, Dominique Ronsseray, Jean-Louis Taupin, Bernard Voinchet.
  • 1979 : Pierre Colas, Francesco Falvigny, Pierre-André Lablaude, Jean-François Lagneau, Jacques Lavedan, Benjamin Mouton, Jean-Michel Musso, Philippe Oudin, Étienne Poncelet.
  • 1986 : Jacques Moulin, Arnaud de Saint-Jouan, Bruno Decaris, Jean-Jacques Sill, Alain-Charles Perrot, Michel Goutal, Alain Tillier.
  • 1988 : Frédéric Didier, François Voinchet, Daniel Lefèvre, Dominique Larpin, François Jeanneau, Patrice Calvel.
  • 1991 : Thierry Algrin, François Botton, Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Régis Martin, Eric Pallot, Patrick Ponsot, Stéphane Thouin.
  • 1992 : Lionel Dubois, Pascal Prunet.
  • 1996 : Paul Barnoud, Marie-Suzanne de Ponthaud, Stéfan Mansciulescu.
  • 1997 : Pierre-Yves Caillault, Olivier Naviglio, Jean-Louis Rebière, Philippe Villeneuve.
  • 2003 : Christophe Bottineau, Pierre Bortolussi, Olivier Weets.
  • 2006 : Christophe Batard, François Chatillon, Denis Dodeman, Richard Duplat, Christophe Amiot, Michel Trubert.
  • 2017 : Martin Bacot, Étienne Barthélémy, Pierre Dufour, Rémi Fromont, Charlotte Hubert, Antoine Madelenat, Olivier Salmon (by competition), Maël de Quelen, Riccardo Giordano, Pierre-Jean Trabon (honorary).


  • Documentations du ministère de la Culture (France).
  • Les dossiers d'archéologie. Comment construisait-on au Moyen Âge ?, No. 251, mars 2000

External links[edit]


  1. "Paul Vorin". Retrieved 2 February 2018..

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