Tycoon's builders knock down chateau "by mistake"
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  1. #1
    sans witticism SLC206's Avatar
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    Default Tycoon's builders knock down chateau "by mistake"

    Ooops...

    With its twin outside staircase and arched entrances, the Chateau de Bellevue was one of the most eye-catching sights in Yvrac, a wine-making village nestling among the famous vineyards of Bordeaux.

    Beautiful, but tired and in need of repair when bought by Dmitry Stroskin, a Russian millionaire, the chateau received a renovation permit and was due to be restored to its former glory.Instead, it was razed by a Polish building firm. Workmen were supposed to demolish only a separate smaller building in the grounds of the estate, but that is the only one still standing.

    Villagers are furious about the "accident" and local authorities have opened an investigation.

    According to the French newspaper Sud-Ouest, Mr Stroskin, who runs an import business in Warsaw, said: "I had no idea the chateau had been destroyed. I'm in shock."

    He said he had spent years scouring the area for his ideal French chateau and "fell in love" with Bellevue. "Even if it was in a very bad way, I wanted to renovate it," he said.

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    The businessman said he understood the anger among local residents, but said he will not be prosecuting the builders for their mistake. "The damage has been done," Mr Stroskin said.

    He has promised to "rebuild an identical Bellevue" including the chateau's grand hall, which could host up to 200 people. A Polish architect has already drawn up plans and local masons have received a 1.5 million euro contract to rebuild it over two years.

    But villagers believe it was more than an innocent mistake. "This wasn't a slip of a digger, it was done on purpose," one told the M6 television channel.

    Claude Carty, the mayor of Yvrac, has ordered all work on the site to be stopped while an investigation takes place. Local authorities have also lodged a complaint over a breach of the town's building code with prosecutors.

    The former owner, Juliette Marmie, said: "The Chateau de Bellevue was Yvrac's pride and joy. The whole village is in shock. How can this construction firm make such a mistake?

    "We sold it in good faith after Mr Stroskin showed us very detailed plans he had had drawn up with interior decoration respecting the 18th century style, and that's what we expected him to do. We are totally thunderstruck and don't know what to think. It was a very beautiful place. It needed some work done to it, not to be knocked down."

    The Telegraph, London
    From the SMH
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  2. #2
    VIP Sponsor 59 Floride's Avatar
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    Mistake my a**e, this sounds like a typical property developers trick.

    It would be more practical to raze the building to the ground and build a replica anyway, that way modern wiring, plumbing and insulation can be incorporated and do away with the constant problem of dust, draughts etc. that make living in old houses a problem.

    I imagine the authorities would take a very dim view of this because of mistakes made in the past and the need to preserve the country side for the tourism dollar.
    Every day when I wake up I reach up in the darkness with my eyes shut and if I cannot feel anything that resembles a wooden lid I know it will be a good day. No lid today.

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    It runs deeper than that. We're talking about more culturally homogeneous parts of the French countryside, and buildings that survived both revolution and two great wars.

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    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    It runs deeper than that. We're talking about more culturally homogeneous parts of the French countryside, and buildings that survived both revolution and two great wars.
    It's a great loss, pity it couldn't survive 2012 Caterpillars!

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    the dailymail online has photos....

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-Bellevue.html

    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    It runs deeper than that. We're talking about more culturally homogeneous parts of the French countryside, and buildings that survived both revolution and two great wars.
    which raises in interesting question: does it matter if it is rebuilt in replica? just like all these "restored" historic cars.

    my reaction was exactly the same as in #2. the owner liked the design and this is a ploy to have the same building but built new with new everything. personally, i cant imagine anything much will happen, as they will swear it was a mistake, and the most likely punishment would be to have it rebuilt the same as it was, as intended anyway. god knows france could use some fiscal stimulus, and i bet the local stonemasons wont be unhappy! jobs like that dont come up very often!
    Last edited by alexander; 7th December 2012 at 11:35 AM.

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    i posted this some time back, but it is worth a second laugh. rather the opposite situation, and not with a good outcome for the owner.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...hay-bales.html

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Alexander, the problem many of us have with an "old/new" rebuild is it's likely the stonework quantity will be a small fraction of original (ie; mainly a cosmetic skin) unless authorities can actively enforce otherwise.

    By comparison, a genuine château is almost alive; there is near constant need for upkeep/repair in older buildings that keeps traditional crafts/trades occupied. Many people fail to understand this - or simply don't want to accept such a requirement - hence the accidental demolition.

    Re the English; they long ago sank into a mire of pettiness. You wouldn't live there unless you were making quids and could afford to leave for Europe every weekend. A sodden dump of backbiting neighbours, wheelclamping, knifings, double-dip taxes, noise, drug usage and lack of free space.

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    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Thats a joke.
    I could demolish the outhouse by hand with a sledge hammer, so based on demolition budget and equipment required alone, there is no way anyone could make such a 'mistake' in earnest.
    Would be good if the french gov stripped the owner of the title deeds and fined him 100% of the rebuild costs.

    Jo

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    1000+ Posts Andrew Ch's Avatar
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    Default Tycoon's builders knock down chateau "by mistake"

    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    Re the English; they long ago sank into a mire of pettiness. You wouldn't live there unless you were making quids and could afford to leave for Europe every weekend. A sodden dump of backbiting neighbours, wheelclamping, knifings, double-dip taxes, noise, drug usage and lack of free space.
    You didn't use to work for the British Tourism Authority at some stage did you ?.....lol

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Hardly. Half English, though - only of use for the EU passport... Wait 'til Keith or Gezza read the above comments.

    Oh, and I forgot the entrenched "comedy" genre of histrionic overacting and breast fixation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    Alexander, the problem many of us have with an "old/new" rebuild is it's likely the stonework quantity will be a small fraction of original (ie; mainly a cosmetic skin) unless authorities can actively enforce otherwise.

    By comparison, a genuine château is almost alive; there is near constant need for upkeep/repair in older buildings that keeps traditional crafts/trades occupied. Many people fail to understand this - or simply don't want to accept such a requirement - hence the accidental demolition.
    .
    granted if it were rebuilt as a faux 'block veneer' that would be a different matter. but the story says the owner intends to rebuild as it was.

    addo, why do these buildings need constant upkeep? do bits fall off, or crack et? i would have thought buildings made of stone blocks were fairly durable. they certainly manage to stay standing for quite long periods of time in europe...
    upkeep is one thing, but i doubt entire construction jobs come up very often. some stone masons are going to be very pleased about this event for sure.

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    They usually move a hellacious amount as it's rare to build such a large structure on a monolithic, stable foundation. Also the mortar allows "creep" due to downforce and spreading loads because it never really sets very hard.

    Added to that you have the usual problems with "wet wall" construction, such as rot in the ends of engaged beams and drummy plaster.

    A structure built on a hilltop, on a solid lump of near-impermeable rock (eg, basalt) is about as dry and stable as you can hope to see. But even then, the sheer amount of mortar and porosity of its lower structure (the rubble ashlar) holds a load of water and downwards pressure encourages capillary creep.

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    Back in the middle ages old buildings had no real value (historic or otherwise) which is why the Colosseum was mined for stone to build other things and is why the Great Pyramids were stripped of their alabaster because no one valued the significance of old buildings.

    This started to change about 400 years ago when Paris and other places started to become tourist destinations for the wealthy and elite, artists etc..

    During the Second World War much of Paris (and London) was almost wiped from the map by bombing raids. Luckily they were smart enough to rebuild much of the old part of Paris (and London) as it was, to regain it's historic significance and entice visitors back, and they now have a very strong tourism industry.

    Sure you can rebuild a replica farm house but it is like a new car compared to an old car i.e. a 400 year old house has a charactor and smell all of its own from 400 years of human activity, this can't be replicated. Also a new building built as a replica would inevitably be built to current building standards and the charactor of the original house lost forever.

    It's a shame that some of us never learn the importance of not destroying our historic buildings.
    Every day when I wake up I reach up in the darkness with my eyes shut and if I cannot feel anything that resembles a wooden lid I know it will be a good day. No lid today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post

    A structure built on a hilltop, on a solid lump of near-impermeable rock (eg, basalt) is about as dry and stable as you can hope to see. But even then, the sheer amount of mortar and porosity of its lower structure (the rubble ashlar) holds a load of water and downwards pressure encourages capillary creep.
    well the overall idea worked, i gather, for God. i wonder whether he has this problem with hydraulic pressure as well?

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    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexander View Post
    why do these buildings need constant upkeep?
    entropy.

    Jo

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    ...the overall idea worked, i gather, for God.
    Well, salt is hydrophyllic. Lot's wife, post-sal, eventually rehydrated to become Brine Edelsten.

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    1000+ Posts FIVEDOOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    well, salt is hydrophyllic. Lot's wife, post-sal, eventually rehydrated to become brine edelsten.
    :d:d:d
    .....

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    Icon14 Practical solutions...

    Judging from the Mayors comments, he seems to accept the "mistake" and the owners distress, but then perhaps that is just a practical recognition, that owner will rebuild a replica of the old and that will be good for the town, and judging from many of the restoration video's and horror stories on UK TV, if the town local authorities are happy, not much difficulty will arise for the owner.

    In contrast from what I have also seen on the UK Tv resto, projects, buying and restoring a listed house is fraught with so many frustrations as the new owners try and comply with UK heritage authorities and some of the weird complications that are put in the way of the genuine persons trying to preserve historic buildings that have been allowed to fall apart with neglect over hundreds of years. Same in Ireland where in one ancient castle restoration the owner tried to comply with almost impossible restrictions to preserve the character of walls, but the whole structure fell down as the required underpinning process commenced.

    Sh*te happens, just as corruption and bribery happens, and that seems to be part of the process of building control on the continent. Keep local authorities happy and they get very cooperative in assisting owners. The proof in the French rebuilding will be how well the authorities work with the owner or how obstructive they are in demanding authentic recreation of the building.

    I guess the owner always has the right to walk away from a project if it gets into the obstructive area. And the government will be careful not to create an impression that they might take over the restoration out of the goodness of their hearts if the owner declines to co-operate.

    Out of disaster comes opportunity.... Mind you the next developer that promises to authentically "restore" an iconic building, might just get a little more oversight in the future.

    ken

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    I'm not convinced that bribery and corruption are any more prevalent in a French province, than down the street from you or I.

    Aside from that, the goggle box stories are always going to be "attractive" ones. The non-eventful projects aren't likely to sell advertising time anywhere so well. Just like elections where one party has a 3:1 lead at the bookies, media loves to play the "Will they, won't they" ticket to attract viewers who are less than studious.

    PJ will concur; some of the hardest people to drag into real world cognisance of building matters, are those under the influence of excessive TV.

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    Hey Addo

    Your generalisation on excessive TV viewers certainly applies to me at the moment, I've had four weeks of very boring TV watching, with little else I can do, now have to settle for re-runs of the programs and documentaries that I slept through

    Note, I wasn't specifically referring to France - I had widened my generalisation to the Continent, Some of the worst examples of corrupt officialdom was Spain during their boom times, especially referring to the Coastal and resort development. I have no doubt a shonky builder could build whatever they wanted and never be detected unless the place he built collapsed and killed people.

    Anyway, I'm happy In what I build for myself, I can't fault anyone else if it fails.... and always willing to support good hearted professionals too!!

    Regards

    Ken

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    I work in Town Planning, and was speaking with a property owner who owns a late 1800's stone and brick house. It's listed on the state heritage register, which means if part of it is damaged, the ramifications are pretty different to if it's just a local government Heritage Overlay. His insurance company had to send around an assessor to value it before they'd give insurance on it. The total replacement cost for a 180m2 home? $3.6 million.

    The assessor said the best thing to happen would be a total loss, then the guy could do virtually what-ever he wanted, but if say it had a leaking roof that damaged ceilings, or light fittings and floors, the cost to repair or replace with original style equipment would be significant. If it was a 70% loss, they may need to repair. Kind of like an old car. If it's completely totalled and damaged too much to restore, it's a loss, but a minor car park collision could be worth repairing, even if it costs more than the car is worth.

    An expensive old house is likely to have far more features than an expensive new house, with ceiling roses, solid timber doors and flooring. Even my very plain owner-built 1930's, 95m2 concrete block house would cost about $500,000 to re-build now to it's original spec, where as a similar sized project home would be an entry level $130k job.

    Even if the guy re-builds the chateau, it is unlikely to have any heritage significance. While it may look old, the construction methods, and building materials will most likely be completely different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielBendigo View Post
    I work in Town Planning, and was speaking with a property owner who owns a late 1800's stone and brick house. It's listed on the state heritage register, which means if part of it is damaged, the ramifications are pretty different to if it's just a local government Heritage Overlay. His insurance company had to send around an assessor to value it before they'd give insurance on it. The total replacement cost for a 180m2 home? $3.6 million.

    The assessor said the best thing to happen would be a total loss, then the guy could do virtually what-ever he wanted, but if say it had a leaking roof that damaged ceilings, or light fittings and floors, the cost to repair or replace with original style equipment would be significant. If it was a 70% loss, they may need to repair. Kind of like an old car. If it's completely totalled and damaged too much to restore, it's a loss, but a minor car park collision could be worth repairing, even if it costs more than the car is worth.

    An expensive old house is likely to have far more features than an expensive new house, with ceiling roses, solid timber doors and flooring. Even my very plain owner-built 1930's, 95m2 concrete block house would cost about $500,000 to re-build now to it's original spec, where as a similar sized project home would be an entry level $130k job.

    Even if the guy re-builds the chateau, it is unlikely to have any heritage significance. While it may look old, the construction methods, and building materials will most likely be completely different.
    Unless the authorities want to be total bumhats and ask him to rebuild using authentic labour techniques, tools and materials. Oh, and make the tradies wear clothes and live in the conditions of the original build era.

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    There actually is an ongoing project of that type in France, building a replica castle. Workers adopt the mode of the day to whatever degree they feel comfortable; some have the funky haircuts and retro clothes. I'd love to work on it for six months; would be a real blast.

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    In Germany they're actually rebuilding an old building. It was destroyed in WW2, and the building photographed in this article was built. http://www.dw.de/keeping-the-light-o...alace/a-916784. Commonly referred to as the 'People's Palace', it was a government office. Construction has now started on a modern replica of the original building, an image of which is in this article.

    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-artic...eptember12.xml

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    There actually is an ongoing project of that type in France, building a replica castle. Workers adopt the mode of the day to whatever degree they feel comfortable; some have the funky haircuts and retro clothes. I'd love to work on it for six months; would be a real blast.
    Take some photo's and we could try and spot the difference.

    Jo

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