Constituted on 13 January 2010 from the Directorates of Museums of France (DMF), the Archives of France (DAF) and the Directorate of Architecture and Heritage (DAPA), the Directorate-General for Heritage is today one of the four main entities of the Ministry of Culture with the Secretariat-General, the Directorate-General for Artistic Creation and the Directorate-General for Media and Cultural Industries.
The tasks of the Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture
1. A modernized mission of protection and conservation at the service of an enriched heritage
The Directorate-General for Heritage is responsible for identifying, studying, protecting, preserving and enhancing the architectural, movable, urban, archaeological, ethnological, intangible, photographic heritage, historic monuments and heritage sites, parks and gardens and the artistic riches of France.
It supports the policy of safeguarding and enhancing monuments and sites likely to be listed or already classified as historic monuments for their historical, aesthetic or cultural interest.
It defines and implements the policy of intervention in archaeological matters and guides the policy of acquisition and use of archaeological data.
The Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture defines, coordinates and evaluates the State’s action in the conservation, communication and development of public archives.
It is also attentive to the preservation of private archives which, from the point of view of history, are of public interest.
It ensures the policy of conservation, protection, restoration and valorization of works of art and guarantees a coherent management of the public collections and the buildings that host them.
2. Enhanced regulatory and technical oversight
The creation of a Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture allows the Ministry of Culture to pool control mechanisms over cultural property and to equip itself today with innovative and coherent tools in the regulatory field.
The missions of protection and conservation of cultural property obeying the codes of urbanism and heritage cannot be fulfilled without a rigorous legislative apparatus. The Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture is responsible for drawing up and implementing legislation on:
- the circulation of cultural goods
- the collection, preservation, communication and enhancement of public records
- museums and public collections
- the historical monuments
- the architectural and landscape quality
- the conditions of practice of a regulated profession: the profession of architect
It exercises the right of pre-emption provided by the French Heritage Code.
It is responsible for legislation and regulations on the protection and conservation of historic monuments and heritage sites, built heritage, archaeological remains, gardens, surroundings, safeguarded areas and protected areas of architectural, urban and landscape heritage (ZPPAUP), and movable and instrumental heritage.
The Directorate-General exercises more widely a scientific and technical control (management, collection, processing, classification, conservation and communication) on the archives of local authorities, museums of France, archaeological excavations, historic monuments including parks and gardens, and heritage sites.
This control is intended to ensure the security of documents, respect for the unity of funds, the quality of research instruments and the enhancement of archival heritage.
3. A valorization policy open to all artistic riches and all audiences
The main objective of the public heritage policy is to improve knowledge of France’s heritage. The development of protected cultural properties, their conservation and restoration, trades and know-how has as its horizon the presentation to all audiences of the wealth of heritage.
The policy of promotion and dissemination carried out by the management is now trying to take better account of the broadening of the definition of heritage towards flagship achievements of the twentieth century (industrial heritage, works of art, housing, public and religious buildings, tourist and sports facilities) and intangible heritage (practices, representations and know-how, as well as related tools and instruments), whose archaeological and ethnological research promotes knowledge.
It considers as priorities:
- public awareness, development and satisfaction, as well as the development of arts and cultural education
- the production and dissemination of scientific data, particularly in digital form
- the exploitation of know-how through participation in the organisation of continuing education and training
- enrichment of public collections through the purchase of private art or archives
- collection and disclosure of public records
- the development of European and international action
With a view to the widest possible dissemination of heritage and architectural culture, the Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture endeavours to network the various actors concerned by its fields of competence.
It exercises a steering function within its decentralized network (regional cultural affairs directorates and future territorial services of architecture and heritage, ex-SDAP, attached to the DRAC as part of the reform of the territorial administration of the State), of animation of the decentralized network (services of the departmental archives, regional services of the inventory, conservations of the antiquities and the objects of art), as well as of guarding many operators.
4. Architectural design and quality: a priority for the attractiveness of the territory
Since 1998, architecture and heritage have coexisted within a single directorate in order to ensure respect for heritage approaches while contributing to the State’s policy on land, landscape and city planning.
Even today, their destinies have been associated within the Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture because of their theoretical and methodological complementarity.
As part of the qualitative management of the territories, the Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture is keen to promote architectural creation and to promote architectural quality in built-up or landscaped spaces, whether or not they are protected because of their historical, aesthetic or cultural interest.
The Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture monitors the legal texts relating to public contracts and the profession of architect (Law of 3 January 1977 on architecture). It exercises a tutelage over the Order of Architects and operates a statistical watch on the profession, which it accompanies in its economic changes.
Responsible for disseminating the architectural culture, it endeavours to coordinate the actions of the main actors that form its network: decentralized services (departmental services of architecture and heritage) and public institutions (city of architecture and heritage, national architecture colleges).
At the initiative of the President of the Republic and under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture, it ensures the follow-up of the reflection initiated on Greater Paris, in the extension of the international consultation procedure.
Finally, it contributes to providing the tools capable of responding to the new challenges of the architectural discipline by providing initial and continuing training for architects, as well as research, and by exercising the tutelage of the twenty national graduate schools of architecture.
5. The decentralized network and the operators of the management: a tightened supervision for an optimized management of public heritage policies
The new organization of the missions conducted by the Directorate-General for Assets and Architecture allows a better identification of its role with its operators through the strengthening of its steering function:
- by exercising strategic supervision (control and monitoring of the application of the defined guidelines), administrative and financial supervision (use of appropriations) over the public institutions attached to it
- conducting quality technical and scientific steering for operations carried out by local authorities
- improving management dialogue with decentralized and decentralized services
The modernization of the management exercised by the Directorate-General is part of the reform of the territorial administration of the State and the modernization of public policies.
The Directorate-General for Heritage and Architecture thus pursues a major objective: conduct a coordinated and coherent approach to territorial action in the field of heritage and architecture in order to promote a broad cultural offer adapted to the challenges of each territory concerned.
The management provided by the Directorate-General for Assets and Architecture must make it possible to:
- define departmental strategies and sectoral objectives (study, research, conservation, restoration, protection, dissemination, collection and acquisition, publication),
- evaluate the implementation of these objectives,
- coordinating and coordinating research and exploitation networks,
- ensure coordination with departments concerned by heritage policies (Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea, Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Ministry of Justice and Freedoms, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs).
The Directorate of Heritage and Architecture consists of the following departments:
- Architecture department
- Interdepartmental Archives Service of France
- Service des Musées de France
- Heritage Service
- Delegation for inspection, research and innovation
- Financial and General Affairs Branch
- World Heritage Mission