Fabulous Public Housing

hbmWhat is the connection between the designer of the most elegant brothel in Paris and an organ player at Versailles Cathedral? The answer is Henri Sauvage and Charles Sarazin, a two-man design team who together worked on one of the most original building designs ever constructed in Paris. What is even more exceptional about their construction is that it was built as an HBM (habitation à bon marché), and was created to serve the needs of the poorest members of society.

Most of the HBM constructions in Paris were built in a ring around the city. They were generally solid, brick-built buildings, drawn to a similar plan and therefore looked largely alike. However, in smaller units where space was at a minimum, occasional more original designs managed to make it off of the drawing board, and this was certainly the case at the Rue des Amiraux, behind Montmartre.

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