The monuments of yesterday are documents worthy of study. In a rapidly changing world, with different values, this is more true than ever. And if such documents are worthy of study, then they are surely worthy of preservation for what they are and what they represent. Any civilization that neglects its future will certainly come to regret it someday. But a civilization that neglects
Its past will find its regrets much more profound and long-lasting. In Europe, although much has been lost, much of this priceless heritage is still preserved—and it is priceless, for no amount of money can ever replace it. There is still time to ensure that it continues to be preserved for the pleasure and instruction of generations to
Castle Pierrefonds (France). Situated near Compiegne department Oise north of Paris, Pierrefonds was originally an 11th century motte-and-bailey castle built by Lord Nivelon. Enlarged in the 12th century, then abandoned and ruined, the site was rebuilt between 1390 and 1407 by the royal architect Jean le Noir to serve as residence to Louis d'Orleans, king Charles VLs brother. Dismantled in 1617 by Cardinal Richelieu, Pierrefonds lay in ruins until 1857, when the architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc rebuilt it to serve as a residence to the French emperor Napoleon III. Viollet-le-Duc's reconstruction was historically rather reliable but also showed the architect's enthusiasm for neo-Gothic architecture. Pierrefonds is less a medieval castle than an expression of the 19th century romantic attitude regarding the Middle Ages, and teaches us to be careful about architectural reconstruction.