L'HĂŽtel de Ville

Description

Have a drink in the café and enjoy the central staircase! Enjoy a fine meal in the restaurant or a delicious agape in the brasserie! The wooded bar is there for a cigar or a digestive brandy. The Town Hall was built in 1746-1749 according to the plans of Isaac Gamaliel de Rovéréa, engineer and cartographer of Bex and Ollon. Many Bellerins financed or participated in the construction of the Town Hall, and this ambitious project put the village in debt for several years. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the Town Hall underwent several transformations, repairs and interior redistributions. The last major overall transformation dates from 1977-1978, but the café part was redone in 2011. Its architecture is characterised above all by the quality of its implementation, the regular play of its bays and the use of the beautiful black "marble" of Saint-Triphon.

In the 18th century, civil architecture experienced a golden age in the Pays de Vaud. New town halls were built in Vevey (1701-1710), Avenches (1753-1755), Yverdon (1767-1773), Echallens (1779-1781), Grandson (1779) and Orbe (1783-1788). Of prestigious appearance and imposing dimensions, they are the expression of a strongly communalized society. Driven by necessity as much as by a taste for pomp and circumstance, fuelled or even driven by a climate of emulation, the authorities of the commune of Bex seriously considered the construction of a new town hall shortly before the middle of the Age of Enlightenment. In the second quarter of the century, the buildings of the town hall, which also included halls and a butcher's shop, seemed dilapidated and impractical. Major alterations seemed unavoidable in the eyes of the town's inhabitants. In February 1746, the latter discussed two proposals: the first provided for "tearing down the said town house from top to bottom and then building a new one that would do honour to the said commune, such as Monsieur le Capitaine de RovĂ©rĂ©a would be good enough to provide the plan", while the second planned "only to repair the old one in the most necessary way, by transporting the butcher's shop under the little town house". The construction of a town hall worthy of the name being a major political and symbolic issue for the urban communities, the General Council of Bex decided to "demolish everything" in order to "be able to rebuild more conveniently". The registers of the syndics' accounts reveal that the building site mobilised significant human and financial resources. From 1746 to 1749, the architect Isaac Gamaliel de RovĂ©rĂ©a (1695-1771), a bourgeois from Bex and Ollon, directed the work. The work of other craftsmen is mentioned with varying degrees of precision: master masons, probably of Italian origin, were responsible for the structural work and drew up several execution plans; Jean Louis MĂ©rinat, a master marble mason from Ollon, supplied Saint-Triphon stone for the window frames, while Alexandre Cunex supplied glass tiles for the large windows. But if the town hall was able to see the light of day, it was above all thanks to the commitment of the Bellerins. They first paid a special tax levied in all the dizains and then participated in the work. The tasks were clearly divided: some transported the materials, others cooked the gypsum or helped cut the stones. In 1751, the balance sheet was still negative, despite payments in money or in kind, with a deficit of around 36,000 florins. This amount is significant if one knows that the architect Gaspard Martin proposed to build a convenient and suitable parish house in Ollon for the sum of 9652 florins! To pay off its debts, the commune decided to take in twenty commune members, mainly craftsmen and merchants, in return for payment, thus completing an ambitious undertaking. During the years 1770-80, the General Council made minor changes to the furniture and decoration of the main rooms of the town hall. In February 1773, it ordered that "the sideboard [of the archives] placed near the stove [of the heated council room] be repaired, not only with a solid oak door [...] with a strong lock", but also that "the shelves be arranged with solid drawers that lock as well, to hold the letters of annuity that are in the hands of the late curial Ravy's heirs and those that will be stipulated in the future". The order was awarded to Master Franz Bron, a local craftsman. In May 1774, the members of the community agreed to the purchase of eight half armchairs, a sofa and two stools belonging to Madame Gouvernante Wagner. It was agreed that 'the Justicier Fayod would go and recognise, pay for and bring [the furniture] to be placed in a room at this Town House, the said Council being willing to have a paper tapestry placed there in order to have a room presentable on occasions and for strangers'. Two months later, the paper tapestry was acquired from Monsieur Monnet of Vevey through the intermediary of the messenger Broyon. Finally, in October 1782, Jean-Ulrich KĂŒchly, a potter in Vevey, was paid "to make the new furnace and to reassemble the old one in the shape of the convenant". These arrangements reflect the political and symbolic functions of an Ancien RĂ©gime town hall. On the one hand, it served to host government meetings, to keep the founding archives of communal power, and to house papers relating to political, fiscal and judicial affairs. On the other hand, the council chamber and the reception hall were intended to be highly representative places, honouring the city and celebrating the sovereign dignity of its elites. However, these arrangements also reflect a desire for luxury and refinement characteristic of the 18th century. The different types of seating demonstrate a specialisation of furniture that responds both to distinguished practices and to the need for comfort. Similarly, stoves combine the useful with the pleasurable: they ensure clean and harmonious heating of rooms while being highly decorative objects. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the town hall underwent several repairs, remodelling and interior redistribution. Its current state dates from the last comprehensive restoration carried out in 1977-78. The building is trapezoidal in plan and has two levels on the ground floor, the latter of which is used as a cafĂ©-restaurant, while the upper floors are occupied by meeting rooms, the kitchen and flats. The main facade facing the central street is governed by a sober composition, Isaac Gamaliel de RovĂ©rĂ©a having used a reduced palette of motifs (a ground floor pierced by arcades, two rectangular window bands, two corner chains). Unlike most 18th century town halls in the canton of Vaud, which were designed on plans imported from France or by French-speaking architects, the Bex building is similar to the wealthy houses of the Chablais. They share several architectural characteristics: the accentuation of massed volumes, the repetition of simple forms, the purity of lines, the contrast of materials. The town hall is distinguished from local examples by the quality of its construction and the use of the beautiful black "marble" of Saint-Triphon. The geographical, cultural and economic situation of Bex is very different from that of the major towns in the Pays de Vaud. Given the means at his disposal, de RovĂ©rĂ©a was able to formulate an architectural project that was meticulous and faithful to the building practices of his region. Born into a family of Vaud nobility, Isaac Gamaliel de RovĂ©rĂ©a attended schools in Lausanne and Vevey, then entered the service of Holland and England respectively, before returning to Bex and Vevey. An engineer and cartographer by training, he quickly became interested in the Bex salt mines. He was appointed director in 1725 and remained in this position until 1754. Anxious to develop the infrastructure of the salt works, he planned various buildings already in existence or to be constructed, as shown in an inventory of the Roche salt works' management house. The plans, profiles and elevations signed by RovĂ©rĂ©a represent, among other things, the BĂ©vieux firing house, the miners' house at Bouillet, the house of Monsieur le Facteur d'Aigle, a graduation building to be built at BĂ©vieux and a house to accommodate the two Facteurs at Roche. This production of technical drawings is probably not unrelated to the skills he developed in the field of architecture. As director of the saltworks, he also seems to have acquired solid experience of building sites. It is therefore not all that surprising to see him designing the plans for the town hall in Bex and then supervising the construction work. For more information: D. Decrausaz, Travaux du sĂ©minaire de recherche en histoire de l'art de l'UniversitĂ© de Lausanne, under the direction of Prof. D. LĂŒthi, 2014. Archives communales de Bex, Registre des comptes des syndics de la communautĂ© de Bex and Manuel du Conseil privĂ© avec dĂ©libĂ©rations du Conseil gĂ©nĂ©ral de Bex (18th century volumes).

For more information: D. Decrausaz, Travaux du sĂ©minaire de recherche en histoire de l'art de l'UniversitĂ© de Lausanne, under the direction of Prof. D. LĂŒthi, 2014. Archives communales de Bex, Registre des comptes des syndics de la communautĂ© de Bex and Manuel du Conseil privĂ© avec dĂ©libĂ©rations du Conseil gĂ©nĂ©ral de Bex (18th century volumes).

Have a drink in the café and enjoy the central staircase! Enjoy a fine meal in the restaurant or a delicious agape in the brasserie! The wooded bar is there for a cigar or a digestive brandy. The Town Hall was built in 1746-1749 according to the plans of Isaac Gamaliel de Rovéréa, engineer and cartographer of Bex and Ollon. Many Bellerins financed or participated in the construction of the Town Hall, and this ambitious project put the village in debt for several years. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the Town Hall underwent several transformations, repairs and interior redistributions. The last major overall transformation dates from 1977-1978, but the café part was redone in 2011. Its architecture is characterised above all by the quality of its implementation, the regular play of its bays and the use of the beautiful black "marble" of Saint-Triphon.

In the 18th century, civil architecture experienced a golden age in the Pays de Vaud. New town halls were built in Vevey (1701-1710), Avenches (1753-1755), Yverdon (1767-1773), Echallens (1779-1781), Grandson (1779) and Orbe (1783-1788). Of prestigious appearance and imposing dimensions, they are the expression of a strongly communalized society. Driven by necessity as much as by a taste for pomp and circumstance, fuelled or even driven by a climate of emulation, the authorities of the commune of Bex seriously considered the construction of a new town hall shortly before the middle of the Age of Enlightenment. In the second quarter of the century, the buildings of the town hall, which also included halls and a butcher's shop, seemed dilapidated and impractical. Major alterations seemed unavoidable in the eyes of the town's inhabitants. In February 1746, the latter discussed two proposals: the first provided for "tearing down the said town house from top to bottom and then building a new one that would do honour to the said commune, such as Monsieur le Capitaine de RovĂ©rĂ©a would be good enough to provide the plan", while the second planned "only to repair the old one in the most necessary way, by transporting the butcher's shop under the little town house". The construction of a town hall worthy of the name being a major political and symbolic issue for the urban communities, the General Council of Bex decided to "demolish everything" in order to "be able to rebuild more conveniently". The registers of the syndics' accounts reveal that the building site mobilised significant human and financial resources. From 1746 to 1749, the architect Isaac Gamaliel de RovĂ©rĂ©a (1695-1771), a bourgeois from Bex and Ollon, directed the work. The work of other craftsmen is mentioned with varying degrees of precision: master masons, probably of Italian origin, were responsible for the structural work and drew up several execution plans; Jean Louis MĂ©rinat, a master marble mason from Ollon, supplied Saint-Triphon stone for the window frames, while Alexandre Cunex supplied glass tiles for the large windows. But if the town hall was able to see the light of day, it was above all thanks to the commitment of the Bellerins. They first paid a special tax levied in all the dizains and then participated in the work. The tasks were clearly divided: some transported the materials, others cooked the gypsum or helped cut the stones. In 1751, the balance sheet was still negative, despite payments in money or in kind, with a deficit of around 36,000 florins. This amount is significant if one knows that the architect Gaspard Martin proposed to build a convenient and suitable parish house in Ollon for the sum of 9652 florins! To pay off its debts, the commune decided to take in twenty commune members, mainly craftsmen and merchants, in return for payment, thus completing an ambitious undertaking. During the years 1770-80, the General Council made minor changes to the furniture and decoration of the main rooms of the town hall. In February 1773, it ordered that "the sideboard [of the archives] placed near the stove [of the heated council room] be repaired, not only with a solid oak door [...] with a strong lock", but also that "the shelves be arranged with solid drawers that lock as well, to hold the letters of annuity that are in the hands of the late curial Ravy's heirs and those that will be stipulated in the future". The order was awarded to Master Franz Bron, a local craftsman. In May 1774, the members of the community agreed to the purchase of eight half armchairs, a sofa and two stools belonging to Madame Gouvernante Wagner. It was agreed that 'the Justicier Fayod would go and recognise, pay for and bring [the furniture] to be placed in a room at this Town House, the said Council being willing to have a paper tapestry placed there in order to have a room presentable on occasions and for strangers'. Two months later, the paper tapestry was acquired from Monsieur Monnet of Vevey through the intermediary of the messenger Broyon. Finally, in October 1782, Jean-Ulrich KĂŒchly, a potter in Vevey, was paid "to make the new furnace and to reassemble the old one in the shape of the convenant". These arrangements reflect the political and symbolic functions of an Ancien RĂ©gime town hall. On the one hand, it served to host government meetings, to keep the founding archives of communal power, and to house papers relating to political, fiscal and judicial affairs. On the other hand, the council chamber and the reception hall were intended to be highly representative places, honouring the city and celebrating the sovereign dignity of its elites. However, these arrangements also reflect a desire for luxury and refinement characteristic of the 18th century. The different types of seating demonstrate a specialisation of furniture that responds both to distinguished practices and to the need for comfort. Similarly, stoves combine the useful with the pleasurable: they ensure clean and harmonious heating of rooms while being highly decorative objects. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the town hall underwent several repairs, remodelling and interior redistribution. Its current state dates from the last comprehensive restoration carried out in 1977-78. The building is trapezoidal in plan and has two levels on the ground floor, the latter of which is used as a cafĂ©-restaurant, while the upper floors are occupied by meeting rooms, the kitchen and flats. The main facade facing the central street is governed by a sober composition, Isaac Gamaliel de RovĂ©rĂ©a having used a reduced palette of motifs (a ground floor pierced by arcades, two rectangular window bands, two corner chains). Unlike most 18th century town halls in the canton of Vaud, which were designed on plans imported from France or by French-speaking architects, the Bex building is similar to the wealthy houses of the Chablais. They share several architectural characteristics: the accentuation of massed volumes, the repetition of simple forms, the purity of lines, the contrast of materials. The town hall is distinguished from local examples by the quality of its construction and the use of the beautiful black "marble" of Saint-Triphon. The geographical, cultural and economic situation of Bex is very different from that of the major towns in the Pays de Vaud. Given the means at his disposal, de RovĂ©rĂ©a was able to formulate an architectural project that was meticulous and faithful to the building practices of his region. Born into a family of Vaud nobility, Isaac Gamaliel de RovĂ©rĂ©a attended schools in Lausanne and Vevey, then entered the service of Holland and England respectively, before returning to Bex and Vevey. An engineer and cartographer by training, he quickly became interested in the Bex salt mines. He was appointed director in 1725 and remained in this position until 1754. Anxious to develop the infrastructure of the salt works, he planned various buildings already in existence or to be constructed, as shown in an inventory of the Roche salt works' management house. The plans, profiles and elevations signed by RovĂ©rĂ©a represent, among other things, the BĂ©vieux firing house, the miners' house at Bouillet, the house of Monsieur le Facteur d'Aigle, a graduation building to be built at BĂ©vieux and a house to accommodate the two Facteurs at Roche. This production of technical drawings is probably not unrelated to the skills he developed in the field of architecture. As director of the saltworks, he also seems to have acquired solid experience of building sites. It is therefore not all that surprising to see him designing the plans for the town hall in Bex and then supervising the construction work. For more information: D. Decrausaz, Travaux du sĂ©minaire de recherche en histoire de l'art de l'UniversitĂ© de Lausanne, under the direction of Prof. D. LĂŒthi, 2014. Archives communales de Bex, Registre des comptes des syndics de la communautĂ© de Bex and Manuel du Conseil privĂ© avec dĂ©libĂ©rations du Conseil gĂ©nĂ©ral de Bex (18th century volumes).

For more information: D. Decrausaz, Travaux du sĂ©minaire de recherche en histoire de l'art de l'UniversitĂ© de Lausanne, under the direction of Prof. D. LĂŒthi, 2014. Archives communales de Bex, Registre des comptes des syndics de la communautĂ© de Bex and Manuel du Conseil privĂ© avec dĂ©libĂ©rations du Conseil gĂ©nĂ©ral de Bex (18th century volumes).

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