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Michel Écochard Archive

Identifier: AKDC-2017-0006

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Scope and Contents

DRAFT [Écochard S+C note DRAFT.docx] The Michel Écochard archive includes work documenting all areas of his work over his career in regard to his categories: Archeologie, Architecture, and Urbanisme (using his French terms for these categories.) We have everything sent to us which was received first by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture directly from Michel Écochard, there nothing that has been excluded, what we have is what was received in it's entirety to the degree of completeness which existed.There are examples of graphic materials, photographic materials, textual material (including handwritten texts, notes, and annotations to other texts), and published material in the form of books, papers, articles, clippings.


  • Creation: ca. 1929 - 1985



The majority of the materials in this archive are in French, otherwise, they are in English, or French and English.

Biographical / Historical

A winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for his role in the ongoing restoration of the Azem Palace in Damascus, Michel Ecochard (1905-1985) donated his archive to the Award. The collection represents his work as an architect, urban planner and archaeologist, and demonstrates his keen interest in photography and aviation.

After his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he was first based in Damascus and then in Beirut from 1931 to 1944, in Rabat from 1946 to 1952 and in Paris from 1953 to 1983. He worked in the Near East under the French Mandate on excavations at Baalbek and numerous restorations, notably on the site of Palmyra. Named architectural adviser to the Syrian government in 1934, he undertook many restoration works in Syria in the 1930s, including the Azem Palace in Damascus, home of the French Institute, on whose grounds he constructed a modern director’s house. He carried out research on the documentation of hammams in Damascus with the architect Claude Le Coeur , then on the construction of the Museum there, having done that of Antioch (Antakya) in 1931.

After having worked on an urban plan for Damascus, he served as director of the Service d’urbanisme in Syria from 1940 to 1944, establishing a new and ambitious urban plan for Beirut (1943-1944). In 1945 he began to look at the principles of functional urban planning while traveling with Le Corbusier on a tour of the United States. He implemented these ideas in various cities of Morocco when he became director of urban planning. His ambitious plan for Casablanca was approved in 1952 but he refused to submit to pressure from developers for modifications and resigned his post.

After presenting his experience in Morocco at the ninth CIAM conference in 1953, he worked in Pakistan, designing the University of Karachi, in Africa, with the urban plan of Conakry (1959), universities at Abidjan (1962-1978) and Yaoundé (1963) and the urban planning of Dakar (1963), as well as on projects in Iran. In 1955, he designed, with another French architect Claude Lecoeur, the Collège Protéstant in Beirut along with a series of other high schools and hospitals.

The most ambitious architectural project of his later career was the Museum of Kuwait from 1960 and a new urban plan that he developed a new plan for Beirut, concentrating on infrastructure (1961). He then outlined a new urban plan for Damascus, with a focus on the circulation of traffic.

He was put in charge of of urbanism at the Ecole des beaux arts in Paris (1967) and continued to pursue projects in both France and the developing world until the 1980s.



105 Linear Feet (Document, flat, portfolio, and tubular boxes of various sizes and shapes. More information to follow when materials have been returned to archivist for arrangement and description! )

Michel Écochard Archive
In Progress
March 8, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid description is in English and occasionally in French. Contents of archives is frequently in French, less often iin English.
Edition statement
Working Draft

Repository Details

Part of the Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT Libraries Repository

Cambridge US