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  #1  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2015, 9:03 PM
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A poetic vision of Paris’s crumbling suburban high-rises

A poetic vision of Paris’s crumbling suburban high-rises


October 1st, 2015

By Jordan G. Teicher

Read More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/i...an-high-rises/

Quote:
The colossal grands ensembles, or high-rise public housing projects, in Paris and its surrounding banlieues, or suburbs, were built after World War II to accommodate an increasing population of rural migrants and immigrants. Today, the deteriorating buildings are largely considered failed experiments — catalysts for the alienation of their populations and a slew of accompanying social issues. Some are being renovated and reimagined but more still are slated for demolition.

In Laurent Kronental’s series, “Souvenir d’un Futur” (Memory of a Future), the product of four years of visits to nearly a dozen of these places, the modernist concrete landscapes are made to seem impossibly huge and virtually abandoned, like something out of a dystopian fantasy. The only people remaining in his vision appear to be a few solitary senior citizens, many of whom, Kronental says, are some of the projects’ first inhabitants. Photographed in carefully composed scenes with a 4-by-5 analog camera, the elderly men and women come across as resilient but vaguely forlorn, as though haunted by memories of the hopeful heydays of their homes.

For Kronental, the neglect of his human and architectural subjects are parallel concerns. But unlike some gloomy media reports, which sometimes fail to create any empathy for the individual in their hellish depictions of the projects, Kronental strove to capture a sense of humanity and poetry in his photos. By highlighting the people with the most tangible connection to an idealistic past, he suggests the possibility of a better future. --- “There is actually a strength in these people. There are those melancholy glances but at the same time these solid postures. The people I photographed were far from being sad and they were still valiant despite, sometimes, a faraway look,” he said via e-mail.

.....
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2015, 9:04 PM
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  #3  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2015, 9:36 PM
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Some interesting architecture right here, love it or hate it.
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Old Posted Oct 3, 2015, 10:01 PM
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Good, destroy them, they're hideous.
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  #5  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2015, 5:48 AM
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Excellent photography and amazing architecture. It's a shame the works of Ricardo Bofill aren't better known as they were ambitious, experimental, and aesthetically unique. I've never seen anything quite like them. Conceptually his projects here remind me of the Royal Crescent in Bath in that they're multi-family projects that give the impression of royal or monumental architecture.
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Old Posted Oct 4, 2015, 5:23 PM
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How can residential highrises be suburban? That's such an oxymoron. They may be ugly but thank god France built them to accomadate the growing population instead of developing cookie cuter single family homes which would take up too much space. The U.S. would be in a much better place enviornmentally today if they had done the same as
France after World War II.
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Old Posted Oct 6, 2015, 4:45 AM
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Holy crap, those buildings look like something straight out of Blade Runner *jaw drops*
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How can residential highrises be suburban? That's such an oxymoron.
Because they were built in what in French are called les banlieues, which is usually translated in English as "the suburbs" (although the American and European ideas of these are somewhat different, they are linked by a sense of peripherality).

Interestingly enough, the "ban" in la banlieue is etymologically cognate with the English word "ban"; before getting repurposed, it essentially meant "region in which edicts could be administered" and could be calqued as "ban-league", in which "ban" confers the legal element and "league" the geographical.

Incidentally, suburban high-rises do occur here too. Canada's Mississauga is perhaps the best-known example, but many Northeastern suburbs have residential towers-in-parks too, for example.
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Last edited by hammersklavier; Oct 6, 2015 at 5:02 AM.
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Old Posted Oct 6, 2015, 7:08 PM
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Originally Posted by King Kill 'em View Post
How can residential highrises be suburban? That's such an oxymoron. They may be ugly but thank god France built them to accomadate the growing population instead of developing cookie cuter single family homes which would take up too much space.
I would wager that the majority of suburban Parisians live in single family homes. There are tons of single family homes, and they dominate the landscape. The highrises (which are generally ugly and rundown, except in affluent western suburbs) are hardly typical.
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Old Posted Oct 6, 2015, 8:37 PM
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I would wager that the majority of suburban Parisians live in single family homes.
Greater Paris is large, sprawling further than most on here know. There's yet that obvious rule. The closer to the inner city, the more overpriced a single family home is. Say fairly large ones 15 or even more miles away from central Paris might easily pass by a million euros, pretty much anywhere in the suburbs. Even the supposedly cheaper may get more pricey here and there, it depends on a municipality. Generally speaking, those ruled by the French communist party for too long have been the cheapest for decades, but it's changing, cause even them French communists end up fed up.

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This is doomed. Almost no one left in there. The Hermitage towers are now likely to rise on that spot instead. A young ballsy French-Russian developer decided it'd be that way, and he's gonna make money of it, whether you like it or not.
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Old Posted Oct 6, 2015, 9:54 PM
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That's tragic. So many awesome towers slated for destruction.
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Old Posted Oct 6, 2015, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousquet View Post
Greater Paris is large, sprawling further than most on here know. There's yet that obvious rule. The closer to the inner city, the more overpriced a single family home is. Say fairly large ones 15 or even more miles away from central Paris might easily pass by a million euros, pretty much anywhere in the suburbs. Even the supposedly cheaper may get more pricey here and there, it depends on a municipality. Generally speaking, those ruled by the French communist party for too long have been the cheapest for decades, but it's changing, cause even them French communists end up fed up.
Wow thanks for the info. The urban fabric of Paris is really interesting to me. It's so unlike what I'm use to here in the states. It has some pros which we could learn from but some flaws too of course. Anyways I'm hoping to be an urban planner someday and think it would be cool to visit Paris and some other European cities, primarily London and Amsterdam because they all seem really neat.
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Old Posted Oct 6, 2015, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beedok View Post
That's tragic. So many awesome towers slated for destruction.
Except for Les Damiers in La Défense, none of the pictured buildings are slated for demolition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I would wager that the majority of suburban Parisians live in single family homes. There are tons of single family homes, and they dominate the landscape. The highrises (which are generally ugly and rundown, except in affluent western suburbs) are hardly typical.
I don't think that the majority in Paris suburbs' inhabitants live in single family homes.
It depends if we include or not the inner suburbs, the majority live in single family homes in outer suburbs, while inner suburbs and old town cores are dominated by small apartment buildings.
As the result, I think, that we would not find a majority in type of housing.

In the metropolitan area of Paris, a bit more than 30% of the population lived in single family houses in 2008, one of lowest ratio in France.

What is certain is that only a minority of people live in housing projects, even in the notorious Seine Saint-Denis department.
Using housing block to descrive Paris suburbs is wrong, even the majority of the ethnic minorities don't live there.

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Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
Holy crap, those buildings look like something straight out of Blade Runner *jaw drops*

Because they were built in what in French are called les banlieues, which is usually translated in English as "the suburbs" (although the American and European ideas of these are somewhat different, they are linked by a sense of peripherality).

Interestingly enough, the "ban" in la banlieue is etymologically cognate with the English word "ban"; before getting repurposed, it essentially meant "region in which edicts could be administered" and could be calqued as "ban-league", in which "ban" confers the legal element and "league" the geographical.

Incidentally, suburban high-rises do occur here too. Canada's Mississauga is perhaps the best-known example, but many Northeastern suburbs have residential towers-in-parks too, for example.
Banlieues (suburb) means just one thing in France: urbanized land outside the city limits.
It has nothing to do with the urban environment but with the position in relation to the limits of the core city.
According to the French defintion, this dense and urban Vincennes is a suburb while this area in Toulouse is not.

This means that French don't use the term banlieue to describe housing projects inside the city limits.
It is only the foreign press who does this, believing the banlieue is synonymous with projects.
Housing projects are called "Cités" in French.

Note that Orgues des Flandres located in the 19th arrondissement can't be called suburban, because in both France and Northern America, it is not viewed as being part of the suburbs (except maybe by Australians who call suburbs everything located outside downtown).
It is not isolated either, it is located on a busy avenue with a lot of shops (Avenue de Flandre) and well served by public transportation.
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Old Posted Oct 6, 2015, 11:50 PM
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Is this one slated for demolition? I hope not because it's really cool. Where is it located?
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Old Posted Oct 7, 2015, 1:59 AM
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No, Les Damiers are in is the picture quoted by mousquet.
Those in the picture above are Aillaud or Nuages (clouds) towers in Nanterre.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tours_Aillaud
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Old Posted Oct 7, 2015, 2:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato Ku View Post
Banlieues (suburb) means just one thing in France: urbanized land outside the city limits.
It has nothing to do with the urban environment but with the position in relation to the limits of the core city.
According to the French defintion, this dense and urban Vincennes is a suburb while this area in Toulouse is not.

This means that French don't use the term banlieue to describe housing projects inside the city limits.
It is only the foreign press who does this, believing the banlieue is synonymous with projects.
Housing projects are called "Cités" in French.

Note that Orgues des Flandres located in the 19th arrondissement can't be called suburban, because in both France and Northern America, it is not viewed as being part of the suburbs (except maybe by Australians who call suburbs everything located outside downtown).
Did I say la banlieue means "housing project"? No, I did not. In fact, I said that it means "suburbs" -- I never once suggested the word means "housing project". Vous avez oublié que je peux parler français aussi. Quelque fois, je lis Le monde.

(Actually I appreciate very well that "banlieue" and "suburb" have the same literal meaning -- including the importance of arbitrary municipal boundaries -- it's just what a Frenchman and an American envision when they say "suburban" is slightly different.)
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Old Posted Oct 7, 2015, 2:54 AM
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Quote:
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No, Les Damiers are in is the picture quoted by mousquet.
I meant like if they were going to be demolished too since someone said a lot of them were going to be. Thanks for the link though.
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Old Posted Oct 7, 2015, 8:03 AM
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Quote:
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Did I say la banlieue means "housing project"? No, I did not. In fact, I said that it means "suburbs" -- I never once suggested the word means "housing project". Vous avez oublié que je peux parler français aussi. Quelque fois, je lis Le monde.

(Actually I appreciate very well that "banlieue" and "suburb" have the same literal meaning -- including the importance of arbitrary municipal boundaries -- it's just what a Frenchman and an American envision when they say "suburban" is slightly different.)
My message was not to contradict you, it was to confirm what you wrote.
Next time, I will put a "indeed".

My remarks were about what one reads in the many articles on the outskirts in France.
The english speaking media often use the word banlieue for housing project in France.
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Old Posted Oct 8, 2015, 2:46 AM
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Some of these do have interesting sculptural qualities. But the majority look like they would be harsh soul-crushing places to actually have to live. Brutalism certainly is an apt term, isn't it?
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Old Posted Oct 8, 2015, 4:47 AM
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At least it's brutalism done a whole lot better.
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Old Posted Oct 9, 2015, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato Ku View Post
My message was not to contradict you, it was to confirm what you wrote.
Next time, I will put a "indeed".

My remarks were about what one reads in the many articles on the outskirts in France.
The english speaking media often use the word banlieue for housing project in France.
no, i have never heard of housing projects in paris referred to as banlieue in america or canada. banlieue means suburb. anything inside of paris is not suburb. and housing projects are housing projects. its quite clear here in english speaking lands as anywhere. now that does not mean that people in the media don't mix up where housing projects are located and perhaps sometimes call them photos from a banlieue when they are not. see the threads just above! thats not what you are alleging though. this sounds more like a french misunderstanding mon frere.
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