Cassien Bernard was born in 1848 in the village of La Mure, in the department of Isère, southeastern France. In 1869 he started attending the 2nd grade of the prestigious school of architecture École des Beaux-Arts, three years later passing in the 1st grade, under the guidance of his teachers, Questel and Pascal. He had a rich activity, standing out both through his work in public administration as an Inspector at Batiments Civils in France, and the numerous projects he carried out within his own architecture office, projects undertaken together with other famous architects of the time.
His most relevant works include the Municipal Theatre in Montpellier, Girls’ School, Alexander III Bridge (completed during the Universal Exhibition of 1900) or the Metro Station, situated in front of Garnier Opera, all in Paris.
Most buildings he designed are the result of his participation in public architectural competitions, in which, even when he was not the prize winner, he achieved remarkable results. His life’s work in architecture was rewarded by being appointed Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour in 1893. In 1900 he was given the higher distinction of Officer. He received a similar distinction in 1887, when the French Academy named him Officer, and in 1891, when Carol I awarded him the Romanian Royal Crown distinction.
In Romania, together with Albert Galeron, he designed the National Bank building in Bucharest, in 1882, a work in eclectic style, with classic accents. Three years later, he designed, this time together with Lecomte de Nouy,the School of Bridges and Roads, on Griviței Road, in Bucharest (Florentina Matache, 2015).
(La Mure, France, 1848 - Esconat, France, 1926)
1869 - He graduated École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France.
Professional Activity (affiliations, administrative positions, committees):
? - Inspector of the construction works for Garnier Opera, in Paris, France;
1879 - Inspector at Batiments Civils, France.
1881-1888 - Municipal Theatre in Montpellier, France;
1882-1883 - The building of the National Bank of Romania, Lipscani Street, Bucharest (together with Albert Galeron);
1885 - School of Bridges and Roads, Griviței Road, Bucharest (together with Lecomte de Nouy);
1886-1892 - Girls’ School, Rue des Martyres, Paris, France;
1888 - Project for „Victor Hugo” monument, Paris, France;
1897 - Alexander III Bridge, Paris, France (for the Universal Exhibition; designed with G. Cousin and Résal și Alby, engineers);
1898 - National Theatre of the Opéra;
1904 - Metro Station in front of the Garnier Opera, Paris, France;
1907-1908 - Banque Suisse et Française, Rue Lafayette, Paris, France.
Competitions, Exhibitions and Shows:
1872 - Competition for the reconstruction of Temple Neuf, Strasbourg, France (1st prize);
1874 - Competition for the construction of Sacre-Coeur, Montmartre, France (5th prize);
1880 - Competition for a la République monument, Place du Château-d'Eau, Paris, France (2nd prize);
1881 - Competition for the reconstruction of the Municipal Theatre in Montpellier, France (1st prize);
1881 - Competition for the construction of two schools in Levallois-Perret, France (3rd prize);
1882 - Competition for the erection of a commemorative column, in Versailles, France (4th prize);
1883 - National Exhibition of Beaux-Arts, project for the National Bank of Romania;
1886 - Participation in the Competition for Girls’ School, Rue des Martyres, Paris, France (1st prize);
1886 - Competition for the 1899 Universal Exhibition, Paris, France (2nd prize);
1893 - Competition for Comic Opera, Paris, France (with Gaston Cousin);
1894 - Competition for the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo, Egypt (2nd prize with Loviot);
1896 - Competition for Petit Palais - Universal Exposition of 1900 (2nd prize).
Awards and Distinctions:
1876 - First 2nd prize, Grand Prix de Rome (within École des Beaux-Arts);
1881 - 2nd Medalia 2 at the Salon, France;
1886 - 1st Prize in the Competition for Girls’ School, Rue des Martyrs, Paris, France;
1887 - Officer of the French Academy;
1887 - Chapelain Award of the Central Society of Architects;
1889 - Silver medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, France;
1891 - Officer of the Romanian Royal Crown;
1893 - Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour;
1900 - Officer of the French Legion of Honour.
A.N.F. (Archives Nationales de France), Base de données Léonore: dossiers de titulaires de la Légion d'honneur, 1800-1976, „Marie Joseph Cassien Bernard” File, index LH/198/35, page 14.
LASCU, Nicolae, Banca Nationala a Romaniei si arhitectura, Bucuresti, Editura Enciclopedica, 2006.
MUCENIC, Cezara, Bucuresti. Un veac de arhitectura civila, secolul XIX, Bucuresti, Editura Silex, 1997.
PENANRUN, David de, ROUX et DELAIRE, 1793-1907 Les Architectes Élèves de l'École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Librairie de la Construction Moderne, 1907.
SOCOLESCU, Toma T., Fresca arhitectilor care au lucrat in Romania in epoca moderna 1800-1925, Bucuresti, Editura Caligraf Design, 2004.
La construction moderne, Librairie de la Construction moderne, Paris, France.