Culture/ BOOK

The architecture for kids

By Emmanuel Monvidran

Monuments, workshops… Would the world of architecture be reserved for adults? No, as these comics prove, revealing its secrets to a young audience.

“Archi et Basile”

Do you know Archibald ? Archi is a mischievous cat, a faithful companion of young Basil who sometimes gets bored in his apartment. With the staging of this duo, this series of illustrated educational book-games invites budding readers (from 7 years old), to a fun walk in the world of architecture and urbanism. As soon as a window opens, Archi runs to the first floor, to an architect’s office, where it’s good to nestle in the heart of a model, scratch the tracing paper, and type on a computer keyboard. During Basile’s visits to get Archi back, he meets the young team, discovers the architect’s profession and its know-how. A mysterious world with a strange vocabulary, but which Basile realizes is at the origin of his daily universe.

The very first volume of the series, Permis de construire accompanies the meeting of Basile and the architect. Why do we need an architect to build a building? What is his role, who does he work with? Is a house built like a school? And how can we be sure that it won’t fall down once it’s finished? How does one draw a façade or the interior of a building? Throughout the pages, the reader meets famous architects (Le Corbusier, Antonio Gaudi), discovers the Centre Pompidou-Metz, and a strange swimming pool transformed into a museum! He can also draw his dream house, his ideal school, an imaginary city.

In the second opus, Chantier en cours ! Basile, accompanied by Archi, visits the construction site of a wooden annex of his school with his friend the architect. Is she the “leader” of the construction site? How do you pour a concrete floor? How do you insulate a building from cold and heat? What tools are needed to complete the construction site? And for that matter, how do you build a train station or a stadium? Is it the architect who builds the concert halls?

« Archi et Basile », by Sophie Bordet-Petillon and Rémi Saillard.

(Éditions du Patrimoine, 52 p., 15 €)

“Incroyable Architecture”

What is the purpose of this architectural journey of initiation in comics? A world tour, richly colored and captioned, which takes schoolchildren on a discovery of 50 emblematic buildings, past and present, selected from all over the planet: pyramids (Ur and Meroe zigurrat), churches (Saint Sophia basilica, Chartres cathedral), housing units (Algiers casbah, Marseille Cité Radieuse, Habitat 67 in Montreal), museums (Bilbao Guggenheim) … Famous !

« Incroyable Architecture », by Peter Allen. (Nathan, 104 p., 22,90 €).

“L’Incroyable Voyage de l’obélisque.”

Two centuries ago, the Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion (1790 – 1832) deciphered the mysterious language of the hieroglyphs of the Luxor obelisk, a gift from the Viceroy of Egypt, Mehemet Ali, to the French King Charles X. Extracted from the banks of the Nile to be transported by boat to Paris, this monumental stone needle (23 meters high, 320 tons) has been enthroned since October 25, 1836 in the center of the Parisian Place de la Concorde, below the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. It is the story of this extraordinary migration that this splendid comic book tells us, which will undoubtedly captivate young readers, but also their parents and grandparents!■

« L’Incroyable Voyage de l’obélisque », by Guillaume Calafat and David Giraudon (Éditions du Patrimoine, 36 p. 14,90 €)

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