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Françoise Bercé

(b Paris, Jan 27, 1814; d Lausanne, Sept 17, 1879).

French architect, restorer, designer and writer. He is one of the few architects whose name is known to the general public in France, although his fame as a restorer of medieval buildings is often accompanied by a somewhat unflattering critical judgement: a restoration ‘à la Viollet-le-Duc’ is usually understood to be abusive in terms of the original work and is often confused with the type of eclectic architecture that he himself particularly disliked. Through his published writings, particularly his Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle (1854–68), he made a substantial contribution to contemporary knowledge of medieval buildings. In addition, his writings and theories had an enormous impact on attitudes to restoration ( see Architectural conservation and restoration ) and on contemporary design, not only for the Gothic Revival movement but also in the development of rationalism, providing an important stimulus to new movements in architecture both in France and abroad (...