The Founders' Award is given annually for an article published by an emerging scholar in the preceding two years in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians that exhibits excellence of scholarship and presentation.
2021 Recipient: Etien Santiago
“Notre-Dame du Raincy and the Great War”
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 78, No. 4, December 2019
In “Notre-Dame du Raincy and the Great War,” Etien Santiago illuminates how the church of Notre-Dame du Raincy (1923) near Paris, by Auguste and Gustave Perret, served not only as a place of worship, but as a memorial to the ravages of World War I. Underscoring its memorial role in turn allows Santiago to elaborate significantly on the more often-cited construction innovations introduced in this building. Santiago deftly interweaves direct observation with broad-ranging documentary research to convey the history, materiality, and experience of the church. The article situates the church within the context of other French memorials and war-time structures, demonstrating both the conservative and avant-garde aspects of its memorial features. These include the pictorial content of the windows and the materiality of the load-bearing structure—in particular the exposed surfaces of bare concrete imprinted with the wood grain of recycled formwork. By convincingly arguing that this novel use of rough, exposed concrete was not only a striking aesthetic gesture but an intentional evocation of the strength and expedience of battlefield architecture, including defensive bunkers and fortifying trenches, Santiago opens a potential new avenue of interpretation for béton brut, one of the most distinctive materials of later twentieth-century modern architecture.