Since its construction, there has been no concerted restoration of the monastery of La Tourette. Tasks such as installing a lift, insulating windows, or renovating the monks' cells, have been dealt with on an ad hoc basis, according to the occupants' needs. Since the building was classified as a historic monument in 1979, the main works have comprised repairs to the terraces, most recently in 1998. In 1987, a revolving steel main door was set in the church, according to Le Corbusier's drawings. J G Mortamet, chief architect of historic buildings, also created a main door on the north of the church in 1993, pews and stalls in 1995 and a new kitchen in 1997.
Sanitary installations were renewed in 2001 under my supervision, and in 2002 I undertook a preliminary study for a general restoration and development of the monastery. Now this general restoration has begun, dealing initially with the whole west wing and with fire security in the two other wings, south and east. The works involve:
restoring the concrete. Its reinforcement, situated quite close to the surface, is exposed and rusting in places, both on the parapets of the terraces and on the facades generally;
making the terraces watertight;
restoring woodwork and glazing (using STADIP 6mm glass);
installing firebreak doors; and normalising electrical distribution and heating.
This undertaking is a first stage, which should be completed in 2008, and will be followed by the restoration of the other wings and the church as funds allow. This restoration is particularly difficult because we are dealing with a 20th-century building. Do we want to keep the monastery exactly as it was originally or discreetly adapt it so that we can go on using it? If the latter, how do we incorporate the necessary provision for security, fire, services, etc, without distorting the spirit of this work? The architectural interest and universal inuence of La Tourette demand that all means be spent to resolve these problems, so that using and occupying it become easier, while respecting the spirit and consistency of the building conceived by Le Corbusier.
Didier Repellin, chief architect of historic monuments, Lyon