Bellot, Father Paul

BELLOT, Father Paul (1876-1944) holds a unique position in 20th century architecture in Quebec. Although only two built works in Canada can be linked to his name, he influenced a generation of architects in that province and elsewhere with his unique approach to design and form, proportion, light and materials. His followers included Adrien Dufresne, Edgar Courchesne and Father Claude-Marie Cote. Born in Pairs on 7 June 1876 Bellot attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1894 to 1901 and became a Benedictine monk in 1904. He devoted his career to designing churches, monasteries and schools for the Roman Catholic church in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and on the Isle of Wight. In 1934 he was invited to Montreal to give a series of lectures on art and architecture. He moved to Canada in 1937 and began a project, in collaboration with Lucien Parent, to complete the dome of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Basilica on Mount Royal in MONTREAL, QUE. (1937-39). In 1939 he commenced work on his most important commission in Canada, that of the Benedictine Abbey at ST. BENOIT-DU-LAC, QUE., built 1939-41 (La Patrie [Montreal], 2 Aug. 1941, 36, illus. & descrip.; H. Kalman, History of Canadian Architecture, 1994, 730-1, illus. & descrip.). Overlooking Lake Memphremagog, this complex reinterprets Gothic and Romanesque precedent in a picturesque assembly of chateau-like towers linked by brick cloisters. Bellot also contributed to a proposal for a vast National Basilica to be built at Cape-de-la-Madelaine, Que., an unbuilt visionary scheme that he worked on with Adrien Dufresne (l'Action Catholique [Quebec City], 29 June 1947, 2-3, illus. & descrip.). Bellot died at Quebec City on 5 July 1944 while residing in Canada and was buried on the grounds of the Abbey at St. Benoit-du-Lac (death notice Le Devoir [Montreal], 6 July 1944, 2). A detailed biography of Paul Bellot and his followers entitled Dom Bellot et l'architecture religieuse au Quebec was prepared by Nicole Tardif-Painchaud and published in 1978. An analysis of Bellot's theories of architectural design entitled Dom Paul Bellot: Architect and Monk has been written by Peter Willis and published in 1997 (biog. and list of works Dizionario dell'Architettura del XX Secolo, 2000, i, 210-11)