Matthew Gin, Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor t the School of Architecture, has won the 2021 Essay Prize from the Society for Court Studies for his article, “Ephemeral Architecture and the Entry of Maria Teresa Rafaela into France, 1745.”
The essay, based on grant-funded research carried out in France and Spain, examines the crucial role that architecture played in an usual early modern royal marriage ritual called the “remise.” This ceremony marked the moment when a foreign bride crossed into French territory and was taken into the custody of her new husband’s family. Staged on France’s frontiers, this ritualized transfer of custody was often facilitated by ephemeral spatial devices that included pavilions, tents, bridges, barges, and gardens. Through an examination of the structures built on a disputed island in the Franco-Spanish borderlands for this ritual in 1745, the article analyzes the architectural staging of diplomacy and the role of buildings in the construction of territorial sovereignty. This research forms part of Gin’s larger book project, Paper Monuments: The Politics of Ephemeral Festival Architecture in Enlightenment France, which links the elaborate decorations built for royal pageants to a larger constellation of political, cultural, and technological developments that occurred in the long eighteenth century.