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5 architectural must-sees less than one hour from Paris
No need to travel far from Paris to discover some true architectural gems. Created by Ricardo Bofil, Le Corbusier, or even Gérard Grandval, these surprising places are all less than one hour from Paris.
Les espaces d’Abraxas in Noisy-le-Grand
Architect: Ricardo Bofill
Inaugurated in 1983, Les espaces d’abrasas are a complex of three residential buildings developed by the Catalan architect, combining futuristic utopia and architectural innovation. Accustomed to the monumental, Richard Bofil viewed things en granda with this unit of three neoclassical buildings: the Théâtre, the Arc, and the Palacio, housing no less than 600 apartments. The very particular concrete decor was most notably featured in the haunting music video Comme un ouragan (1986) by Stéphanie de Monaco as well as in the films À mort l’arbitre (1984) by Jean-Pierre Mocky, Brazil (1985) by Terry Gilliam, and even Hunger Games (2014) by Gary Ross.
Les espaces d’Abraxas: Place des Fédérés, 93160 Noisy-le-Grand.
La villa Savoye in Poissy
Architect: Le Corbusier
A masterpiece of international renown, this weekend house built between 1928 and 1931 for the Savoye family, adopts the precepts of a new architecture formulated by Le Corbusier, namely the pilotis, the roof garden, the free designing of the ground plan, the horizontal windows, and the free designing of the façade, with reinforced concrete as the main construction material. Left to abandon, the edifice was restored by the State from 1963 to 1997, then open to the public under the guardianship of the Centre des monuments nationaux. Listed as a Unesco world heritage site alongside 16 other Le Corbusier structures, la Villa Savoye is today considered an avant-garde architectural icon.
La villa Savoye: 82, chemin de Villiers, 78300 Poissy. Open every day except Monday from 10 AM to 5/6 PM. Visit www.villa-savoye.fr
Le Point-du-Jour in Boulogne-Billancourt
Architect: Fernand Pouillon
The residence of the Point-du-Jour in Boulogne-Billancours is the work of Fernand Pouillon. Built between 1957 and 1963, it was labeled a “20th Century Heritage” site in 2008. Emblematic of his work, this complex includes more than 2,000 residences and 25 buildings located on the banks of the Seine. The pool decorated with a sculpture, the façade covered in gold leaf… it seems nothing was too pleasing to the eye for this architect eager to promote beauty for all… before becoming the center of a wild scandal.
Le Point-du-Jour: Rue du Point du Jour, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt.
Les Choux in Créteil
Architect: Gérard Grandval
Coined “The Cabbages,” these buildings were erected between 1970 and 1974 in the new city of Créteil by the architect Gérard Granval in response to large complexes of high-rise blocks. Illustrating a new conception of urbanism, the plant-like architecture of these eleven round towers counters the sensuality of concrete, the curved lines replacing the straight lines. Originally intended to be overflowing with plants, the vast, petal-shaped balconies now paint a surrealist picture of a bundle of ears of corn in the urban landscape. Although this complex continues to fascinate architecture-lovers, residents are subject to its obsolescence.
Les Choux: Boulevard Pablo Picasso, 94000 Créteil.
La Fondation Marta Pan – André Wogenscky in Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuses
Architect: André Wogenscky
Although relatively unknown to the uninitiated, the workshop-home of sculptor Marta Pan and of architect André Wogenscky is only open to visitors who have made a reservation. Built in 1952 in the heart of the Chevreuse valley, this house was built without partitions for a greater fluidity of movement. Thanks to the purchase of neighboring parcels of land, the garden was enlarged to welcome, from the end of the 1990s, the sculptor’s fifteen monumental sculptures, mostly steel, some marble; a work that she continued after the death of her husband in 2004, up until her last breath in 2008. The house, which has remained unchanged, now houses the Marta Pan – André Wogenscky Foundation.
La Fondation Marta Pan – André Wogenscky: 80, avenue du Général-Leclerc, 78470 Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse. Follow website guidelines to schedule a visit: www.pan-wogenscky.com.