Le Dancing La Batterie
Dancing construit en 1933 par Pierre Barbe aux Issambres – Commune de Roquebrune-sur-Argens
FR | ENG
remarkable Var architecture #2
The Villa Noailles continues a series of exhibitions dedicated to the remarkable architectures in the Var. Throught archives and contemporary photographic documentary, the aim is to reveal extraordinary buildings of the region. In 2016, the first exhibition was about the villa Reine Jeanne in Bormes-les-Mimosas, designed by the american architect Barry Dierks.
On the occasion of this new exhibition, Vincent Flouret answers to the photographic assignment by the villa Noailles.
La Batterie, Pierre Barbe
Color, bilingual french / english.
32 pages. 15 euro
LA BATTERIE, PIERRE BARBE
‘La Batterie was built in 1933 in Val d’Esquières, in the coastal quarter of Issambres, in the town of Roquebrune-sur-Argens (Var). The architect, Pierre Barbe (1900-2004) was a young man enamoured with functionalism, whose cause he defended at the Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne (CIAM, founded upon the initiative of Le Corbusier in 1928) and through the Union des artistes modernes (UAM) where he was one of the founding members with Robert Mallet-Stevens in
In 1932, the civil engineering company Montcocol became the owner of the hotel La Résidence in Val d’Esquières, which it had just constructed following a design by the Saint Maxime resident and architect, René Darde (1883-1960). Charles Montcocol enlisted his son-in-law, Robert Lallemant (1902-1954), to design the hotel’s gardens. Lallemant was a ceramicist, decorator, and member of the UAM, and he in turn presented Pierre Barbe to his father-inlaw.
In 1932, the Montcocol company asked Pierre Barbe to design its headoffice and technical facilities, which were built at 82 quai de la Rapée in Paris, and then in 1933 a dance hall in Roquebrune.
La Batterie was situated upon a headland beyond the beach of Val d’Esquières and backed onto a bend which followed the coastal road and the single track of the Chemins de fer de Provence. The location’s curves determined those of this small structure whose oval layout established its entire
design. From the dance hall’s oval terrace, which opened up onto the sea, to the curve into which were carved the bandstand in the middle, entrances on either side, as well as the bathrooms on the right and the bar on the left. Narrow reinforced concrete columns supported the slender porch, which was also oval. The rear of the bandstand was translucent thanks to Saint-Gobain Nevada glass bricks, the very same which Pierre Chareau used two years later to construct the facades of the Maison de verre in Paris. The metallic letters of the sign “La Batterie” perched atop the entrance porch, the guyed mast, and the handrail bordering the dance floor imprinted the aedicule with the aesthetic of yachts and cruise ships. For Montcocol, this dance hall was not simply an amenity for the prestige of the hotel, it was also a demonstration of his expertise in reinforced concrete: the finesse of the oval porch, supported by slender columns was echoed in even finer details, such as the manner in which the shelves in the bar were cast.
La Batterie was also a calling card for Pierre Barbe, as the design model was exhibited at the UAM show of 1933 and several photographs were published in the review l’Architecture d’aujourd’hui in
1935 and in 1937.’
Jean-Baptiste Minnaert, professeur
d’histoire de l’art contemporain,
COMMANDE PhotographiQUE de Vincent Flouret