Too Cool for Its Environs

In any city, the three most important words for real estate are location, location, location. Sometimes though, even if you do manage to find a spot in a desirable district you may find that your face just never seems to fit in. This has always been the case with Galerie Argentine.

Picked up and placed in another part of Paris, this striking shopping gallery and apartment block would be a popular and well-known address. On the chic Avenue Victor Hugo though, it has always been considered a pugnacious slap in the face of classic good taste.

There are two reasons for this: brick and metal. With its red-brick facade and all too apparent iron framework, the building is just a little too industrial for the neighbourhood. Not popular when first built it is still very quiet and slightly dusty around the edges today. It bears the old-fashioned look of a place that was never in fashion in the first place.

It is nevertheless an exceptional development, and a fantastic early creation from a team (Henri Sauvage and Charles Sarazin) that would later produce other striking buildings in Paris, notably a ‘hygienic’ construction in the 18th arrondissement that has previously been featured on the blog Invisible Paris. It is also perhaps the moment to remind ourselves that Henri Sauvage would later design one of the city’s most exclusive brothels, Le Sphinx.


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