Eric Arsenault Architecture

Answer to the "Journal du Centre" 2007


architecte d.p.l.g.
21, rue de la Rotonde
58000 NEVERS

Mme Ariane Griessel
Le Journal du Centre
Rue du Chemin de Fer
58000 NEVERS

Objet :
Answer to be published
Reference the article « Bring down the lighting, bright idea » p2 of the edition
of Monday 3rd September 2007

Nevers, Tuesday 11th September 2007

Following your article mentioned above, I would like to give you the following additional information which I would like to be published.
Thanking you in advance,
Yours sincerely,

Eric Arsenault

Answer and additional information regarding the article « Bring down the lighting, bright idea » p2 of the edition of Monday 3rd September 2007

In your edition of September 3rd, you publish an article denouncing in a one-sided way the visual pollution due to the night-lights, by showing a magnificent photo as an " example of useless lighting " of the footbridge of Challuy and by quoting " the private individuals, forced to finance the whims of certain architects … "

As architect of this footbridge, I thus suggest completing your information so as to give a fuller look onto your article :

In terms of energy consumption, the complex was studied with a desire for economy and we used 80% of fluorescent lamps (low consumption) which are integrated into the safety rail. For measure, the overall lighting of the bridge consumes the equivalent of 3 electric heaters, which, related to the 60 000 inhabitants of the town, seems to me to be an acceptable expenditure.

In terms of safety, this lighting allows the residential boarders to get back to the dormitories, of the Agricultural and the Horticultural high schools, after their supper, knowing that from the middle of September night falls as early as 8:30 pm.

Even there, it was economy which had incited the use of a single restaurant for the 2 establishments, with the counterpart of a bright and reassuring digestive walk in the evening back to the dormitories, without having to cross the highway and whilst staying in the grounds of the high schools.

Safety always, we can imagine that the night travelling truck drivers appreciate being warned by a life size obstacle, the height of which they might not have read on a signpost for lack of attention (or of lighting !).

As for the responsibility of the architect, it is necessary to know that it is always shared with the project owner (the payer) who, thanks to the various phases in the elaboration of a project (sketch, draft, building permit, project) intervenes to validate each of the stages of its implementation. On no account an architect can realize a project without the consent of who pays for the work, a political representative in the case of public tendering.

Finally, speaking about whim, a company lacking it is more or less doomed to disappear quickly. Under the excuse of the whim, it is culture which can be labelled as expensive and superfluous. Culture, which includes architecture, is multiple and expresses itself under various forms : let us remain careful not to isolate certain parts from it and let us thank those who can still bring some whim into our everyday life.

During the implementation of the footbridge of Challuy as well as during the implementation of the lighting of the railway bridge which you mention in your article, several people have expressed their joy to see these works illuminated. Is it necessary to repress these pleasures ? Nevers is not a city with over lit public buildings, far from that, and let us see the quality of public spaces in cities that are correctly lit, witness the pride that people have in their buildings.

Nevers, 11th September 2007
Eric Arsenault, architect