Brutalist Architecture

brutalismparisblog1A year ago  I asked whether they were any true examples of brutalist architecture in Paris. The example I eventually found in the 13th arrondissement was positively gentle alongside this multi-story car park in the suburb of Nogent sur Marne!

It was no surprise to discover that this rather impressive structure is condemned today and will shortly be demolished. The reasons for this removal echo the explanations given by city planners across the world who have justified similar demolitions.

The regeneration project for the town entrance will modify the current physionomy of a district whose urban esthetics do not promote the image and attractiveness of Nogent.

burtalistarchitectureparisblogIn place of this structure will be something far more banal, but this sleek architectural froideur is apparently more acceptable today. Brutalism is still deeply unfashionable amongst city planners, but will it ever make a comeback or will buildings such as this one soon disappear for ever? It would be difficult to class this car park as attractive, but such solid and uncompromising lines certainly make for interesting photo opportunities. I can’t help feeling that one day we will regret the passing of this style.

4 Responses to “Brutalist Architecture”

  1. Comment by Alessia | 08/31/10 at 8:07 pm

    I really do not like this building. It’s surely bad architecture. Paris is so attractive and romantic with its old buildings as well as fresh and modern with its particular buildings like the Louvre, le Centre Pompidou, Le Grande Arche, the Docks of Paris and many many others. It’s a pity you have to look around and see such a horrible building. So HURRAH for the demolition of this ugly car park!

  2. Comment by InvisibleParis | 09/01/10 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for your comment Alessia.
    I have two comments to make though. Firstly, this is not Paris, but a town in the eastern suburbs. There is no remarkable architecture here, although there is the last surviving Pavillon Baltard from the original Halles nearby!

    Secondly, what should a car park look like? You can’t compare such a building to a monument or an art gallery, but this one has done its job perfectly well for several decades.

    I didn’t say that this building was attractive, and indeed you are perefectly within your rights to judge it as ugly. However, it is an architectural style in the same way that art nouveau, art deco and modernist buildings are, but all styles come in and out of fashion. A lot of the art nouveau features of Paris were removed when it was no longer fashionable (the Guimard Metro features), but people today are thankful that some have survived. I just think it would be a shame to completely kill off an architectural movement before we have had the chance to reevaluate its merits.

  3. Comment by Alessia Pearl | 09/02/10 at 2:35 pm

    First of all, you are more than welcome and thanks for your reply.

    Quoting your post on brutalist architecture you are talking about “true examples of brutalist architecture in Paris”, and as you said you found one in Nogent sur Marne which according to Wikipedia (and any other available source, I guess) is a commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France. Therefore, yes this is Paris. Sure not the Paris we all like to visit and dream about but still Paris!

    As a reply to your second comment, I want to say that I agree with you that we cannot compare a car park to a monument or art gallery. In my first post I mentioned some of the famous buildings in Paris to emphasise the fact that replacing such an ugly car park with a better one can only do good not only to the suburb where it is found but overall to the entire Paris.

    Moreover, I would like to answer your question on how a car park should look like by saying surely better than the ugly ugly one in your post, especially since we are talking about Paris. Also I don’t see how one could consider such an ugly spot for picture taking.

    I guess it is much better to look at the following multi storey car parks rather than the one in your post.

    http://www.airport-technology.com/projects/europa/images/17-multi-storey.jpg

    http://theurbanearth.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/101.jpg

    http://theurbanearth.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/31.jpg

    http://plusmood.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/BDTX_UAP_plusMOOD_Close-up.jpg

    http://www.wernersobek.de/files/dynamic/generic/594×396-440_d56b5.jpg

    Thus, yes I am up for killing such kind of brutalist architecture!

  4. Comment by Andreas | 05/05/11 at 1:46 pm

    How funny, I was doing the same as you, searching for brutalist architecture in Paris and I found your site

    I can give you one striking example, although I actually think it’s merely structuralistic,.
    I’m not sure about the name, but if you search for Centre Jeanne-Hachette or Mairie d’Ivry centre and Jean Renaudie is the architect. You will find it.

    I recomment viewing it in BingMaps with birds eye, then you see how insanely huge it is. And there are more stucturalist/brutalist buildings in the neighbourhood, but I can’t find any info of them. But I placemarked them in G-Earth.

    ps. ‘Les Espace d’ Abraxas’ isn’t also real brutalism but very brutal nonetheless (in a very quirky way ;).

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