panel in Pessac
One of Loubatié's earliest architectural endeavours was on Rue de Tauzia, a wide street that was opened in 1887 and which was originally earmarked to provide a swift and direct means of getting from Place de la Comédie to Saint-Jean railway station. A three-storey complex of rental flats he designed was completed there around 1892.
Loubatié's attentions then turned to the suburb of Pessac, where he later went on to become chief town architect. In the mid-1890s, Loubatié was commissioned by local dignitary François Pommez to design the chalet-like houses that were to be built in a leafy part of town, surrounding a casino that was set to attract patrons from Bordeaux thanks to the handy tram link. The casino was eventually short-lived, operating between 1897 and 1901 before being destroyed by a fire in 1905. There is no trace of it today (a modern house has taken its place), but the district is still known as “le Quartier du Casino” and serves as a veritable showcase for Loubatié's houses.
|Mimosa, Rieuse, Girofla and Militona villas.|
In all, sixteen Loubatié-designed houses were completed in 1898, delivered by the builder Charles Perriez. They were clearly inspired by the villas such as those conceived by Paul Régnauld that were already commonplace in Arcachon, where Loubatié owned a holiday residence. While the set is harmonious in terms of design, each house boasts idiosyncratic features such as spectacular bow windows and upper floors perched high up on towers!
Loubatié’s Pessac legacy also includes the war memorial, inaugurated in 1928 on what is now known as Place de la Ve République. The bronze sculptures, produced by by the city of Bordeaux’s designated sculptor Gaston Veuvenot Leroux, depict soldiers on one side of the monument and a female scribe on the other, (Marianne, the incarnation of the French republic, perhaps?) writing the names of the victims of war in a manner suggesting we are viewing work-in-progress.
|Early 1900s houses at 45 Rue Mexico, on corner of |
Rue Berruer and Rue Levieux, and on Rue Jean-Soula.
In 1908, Loubatié completed the best-known of his rare achievements outside Bordeaux, Cinéma Pathé (now Centre Rabelais museum) in Montpellier, which provided the blueprint for his spectacular Ciné-Théâtre Girondin masterpiece in 1919. Not all his works were quite so extravagant though. A sturdy, functional office building (where premises are currently available to let) still bears his signature on Rue de la Faïencerie down by the Garonne riverside in Bordeaux.
By 1930, Loubatié was focusing on town houses again. Back on Rue Mexico, Loubatié delivered a small block of houses at numbers 9, 11 and 13.
He owned and lived in the house at number 9, the façade of which comprises a curious bas-relief of a circular female face whose eyes are masked by two set-squares, and whose head is topped off with an open compass… all no doubt coded messages for Masonic counterparts who he may have frequented as a longstanding member of Société des Architectes de Bordeaux et du Sud-Ouest. It is in this modest house that Loubatié died in November 1939.
- Find them: Pessac - Quartier du Casino, WW1 memorial; Bordeaux - Rue de Tauzia, Rue Mexico, Rue Berruer, Rue Jean-Soula, Rue de la Faïencerie... not forgetting the Ciné-Théâtre Girondin.
- Much of the story above was first told by www.federation-quartiers-pessac.com
- The architectural plans of Militona villa in Pessac can be viewed here.