ARC BOUTANT Historic Preservation Program
Current Project: Southern Italy: the Sassi of Matera

Arc Boutant Historic Preservation Program initiated a new project of study in July 2000 in the magnificent, exuberant setting of Matera, Italy. Carved into the wall of a Basilicatan (“Lucanian” by local preference) ravine and layered with artifacts from millenia of human habitation are thousands of cave habitations called the "Sassi." Designated a UNESCO World Monument, the site clearly illustrates the region's rich geology, physical and human geography, and architectural history, as well contemporary and past methods and theories of architectural preservation. (See Site History for more information.) The program course work focuses on developing an understanding of the physical, anthropological, and historical makeup of the culture as background to an investigation of the rapidly deteriorating part-cave-part-constructed homes and churches. Course work is composed of: lectures, hands-on lessons, and site visits with Matera’s faculty of well-known scholars and building professionals. The final phase of the course is a practical preservation study involving analyses, measured drawings, and a preservation proposal for one of the Sassi monuments. Following the program, the team publishes the findings in a report. The work is done in collaboration with local authorities and invited experts on issues impacting the buildings.

Paris, France: Chateau de la Petite Malmaison Site History


Related Links

Normandy, France:Chateau de Montflaux