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Voir l'espace architectural en coupe. Exploration du rôle de la coupe dans la conception de l’espace moderne

Thèse soutenue par Adrienne Costa

  • Soutenue le 24 janvier 2020
  • École doctorale Temps, Espaces, Sociétés, Cultures (TESC), en cotutelle avec l'Université de Montréal
  • Financement : contrat doctoral du Ministère de la culture
  • Date de démarrage : octobre 2015


  • Co-Directeur de thèse : Rémi Papillault, professeur HDR, ENSA Toulouse
  • Co-Directeur de thèse : Jean-Pierre Chupin, Professeur Ph. D., Université de Montréal


  • Karim Babous, maître de conférences, ENSA Paris-Val-de-Seine (examinateur)
  • Françoise Blanc, maître de conférences, ENSA Toulouse (examinatrice)
  • Virginie Picon-Lefèvre, professeur HDR, ENSA Paris-Belleville (rapporteur)
  • Estelle Thibault, maître de conférences HDR, ENSA Paris-Belleville (rapporteur)
  • Juan Torres, professeur Ph.D, vice-doyen Université de Montréal (examinateur)


Seeing architectural space in section. Exploration of the section in the conception of modern space.

Progress of digital technology allows hyper-developing of representation modes free from instruments which are more and more considered as obsolete to produce new spaces.
However, referring to the spread which is given to the section when presenting projects, or in
teaching practices, it is often described as a device for stimulating, designing and building.
This theorical research observes the use and the status of section at the end of the twentieth
century, at the dawning of modelling development.
According to Jacques Guillerme and Hélène Vérin, section appears within surveys and studies of antic ruins as a physic reality, the one of a building truncated by its own partial collapse.
Many theorists, as Barbara Stafford and Robin Evans, make a connection between section and dissection as opening modes on the inside and by the development of both practices during the Eighteenth century. According to Robin Evans, to reveal the essence of the building
is the real function of architectural drawing.
The approach is to explore the drawing and the evolution of sections through traces of the
designing process, in order to understand how section act as a “générateur” of the project.
The research question may be : how, and to which spread, architectural section has a generating dimension of space and it intervene in the elaboration process of modern houses designed after the “Resolving the project in space” ?
Based on archives drawings a reference corpus of six modern emblematic houses sections
designed between twenties and sixties have been observed in their representation and space.
Six other emblematic houses sections conceived from seventies to two thousand ten have been observed through a comparative analysis with the reference corpus.
The expected results are to detect the spatial issues raised by the section, to extend its agreed definition as a representation tool to a designing tool and to settle a methodology for analysing cut space.


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