The city of Paris has notable examples of architecture of every period from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. It was the birthplace of the Gothic style, and has important monuments of the French Renaissance, the Classical revival, and flamboyant style of the reign of Napoleon III; the Belle Époque, and the Art Nouveau style. The great Paris Universal Expositions of 1889 and 1900 added Paris landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and Grand Palais. In the 20th century, the Art Deco style of architecture first appeared in Paris, and Paris architects also influenced the postmodern architecture of the second half of the century.
The Belle Époque (1871–1913)
The architecture of Paris created during the Belle Époque, between 1871 and the beginning of the First World War in 1914, was notable for its variety of different styles, from Beaux-Arts, neo-Byzantine and neo-Gothic to Art Nouveau, and art deco. It was also known for its lavish decoration and its imaginative use of both new and traditional materials, including iron, plate glass, colored tile and reinforced concrete.
From the 1870s until the 1930s the most prominent style for Paris churches was the Romano-Byzantine style; the model and most famous example was the Sacré-Coeur, by Paul Abadie, whose design won a national exposition. Its construction lasted the entire span of the Belle Epoque, between 1874 and 1913, under three different architects; it was not consecrated until 1919. It was modeled after the romanesque and Byzantine cathedrals of the early Middle Ages, which Abadie had restored. The style also appeared in the church of Notre-Dame d’Auteuil by Emile Vaudremer (1878–92) The church of Saint-Dominque, by Leon Gaudibert, (1912–25) followed the style of Byzantine churches, with a massive central dome. The first church in Paris to be constructed of reinforced concrete was Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre, at 19 rue des Abbesses at the foot of Montmartre. The architect was Anatole de Baudot, a student of Viollet-le-Duc. The nature of the revolution was not evident, because Baudot faced the concrete with brick and ceramic tiles in a colorful Art nouveau style, with stained glass windows in the same style.
The Department store and the office building
Aristide Boucicaut launched the first modern department store in Paris Au Bon Marché, in 1852. Within twenty years, it had 1,825 employees and an income of more than 20 million francs. In 1869 Boucicault began constructing a much larger store, with an iron frame, a central courtyard covered with a glass skylight. The architect was Louis-Charles Boileau, with assistance from the engineering firm of Gustave Eiffel. After more enlargements and modifications, the building was finished in 1887, and became the prototype for other department stores in Paris and around the world. Au Bon Marché was followed by au Louvre in 1865; the Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville (BHV) in 1866, Au Printemps in 1865; La Samaritaine in 1870, and Galeries Lafayette in 1895. All the new stores glass skylights whenever possible to fill the stores with natural light, and designed the balconies around the central courts to provide the maximum of light to each section. Between 1903 and 1907 the architect Frantz Jourdain created the interior and façades of the new building of La Samaritaine.
The safety elevator had been invented in 1852 by Elisha Otis, making tall office buildings practical, and the first skyscraper, The first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, a ten-story building with a steel frame. had been built in Chicago by Louis Sullivan in 1893–94, but Paris architects and clients showed little interest in building tall office buildings. Paris was already the banking and financial capital of the continent, and moreover, as of 1889 it had the tallest structure in the world, the Eiffel Tower. While some Paris architects visited Chicago to see what has happening, no clients wanted to change the familiar skyline of Paris.
The new office buildings of the Belle Époque often made use of steel, plate glass, elevators and other new architectural technologies, but they were hidden inside sober neoclassical stone façades, and the buildings matched the height of the other buildings on Haussmann’s boulevards. The headquarters of the bank Crédit lyonnais, built in 1883 on the boulevard des Italiens in 1883 by William Bouwens Van der Boijen, was in the Beaux-Arts style on the outside, but inside one of the most modern buildings of its time, using an iron frame and glass skylight to provide ample light to large hall where the title deeds were held. In 1907 the building was updated with a new entrance at 15 rue du Quatre-Septembre, designed by Victor Laloux, who also designed the Gare d’Orsay, now the Musée d’Orsay The new entrance featured a striking rotunda with a glass dome over a floor of glass bricks, which allowed the daylight to illuminate the level below, and the three other levels below. The entrance was badly damaged by a fire in 1996; the rotunda was restored, but the only a few elements still remain of the titles hall.
The Belle Époque was the golden age of the Paris railroad station; they served as the gateways of the city for the visitors who arrived for the great Expositions. A new Gare de Lyon was built by Marius Tudor between 1895 and 1902, making the maximum use of glass and iron combined with a picturesque bell tower and Beaux-Arts façade and decoration. The café of the station looked down on the platform where the trains arrived. The Gare d’Orsay (now the Musée d’Orsay was the first station in the center of the city, on the site of the old Ministry of Finance, burned by the Paris Commune. It was built in 1898–1900 in the palatial Beaux-Arts style by architect Victor Laloux. It was the first Paris station to be electrified and to place the train platforms below street level, a model soon copied by New York and other cities.
Residential architecture- Beaux-Arts to Art Nouveau
Private houses and apartment buildings in the Belle Époque were usually in the Beaux-Arts style, either neo-Renaissanace or neoclassical, or a mixture of the two. A good example is the Hotel de Choudens (1901) by Charles Girault, built for a client who wanted a house in the style of the Petit Palais, which Giraud had designed. Apartment buildings saw changes in the interiors; with the development of elevators, the apartment of the wealthiest residents moved from the first floor above the street to the top floor. The rooflines of the new apartment buildings also changed, as the city removed the restrictions imposed by Haussmann; the most extravagant example was the apartment building at 27-29 quai Anatole-France in 7th arrondissement (1906) which sprouted profusion of turrets, spires and decorative arches, made possible by reinforced concrete. A competition for new façades was held in 1898, and one winner was Hector Guimard for the design of a new apartment building, the Castel Béranger (1895–98]], the first Paris building in the Art Nouveau style. The façade was inspired by the work of the Belgian Art-Nouveau pioneer Victor Horta; it used both elements of medieval architecture and curved motifs inspired by plants and flowers. Horta designed every detail of the house, including furniture, wallpaper, door handles and locks. The success of the Castel Beranger led to Guimard’s selection to design the entrance of stations of the new Paris Metro. In 1901 the façade competition was won more extravagant architect, Jules Lavirotte, who designed a house for the ceramic maker Alexandre Bigot which was more a work of inhabited sculpture than a building. The façade was entirely covered with decorative ceramic sculpture. The popularity of Art Nouveau did not last long; the last Paris building in the style was Guimard’s own house, the Hotel Guimard at 122 Avenue Mozart (1909–13).
Between the wars – Art Deco and modernism (1919–39)
The Art Nouveau had its moment of glory in Paris beginning in 1898, but was out of fashion by 1914. The Art Deco, which appeared just before the war, became the dominant style for major buildings between the wars. The primary building material of the new era was reinforced concrete. The structure of the buildings was clearly expressed on the exterior, and was dominated by horizontal lines, with rows of bow windows and small balconies, They often had classical features, such as rows of columns, but these were expressed in a stark modern form; ornament was kept to a minimum; and statuary and ornament was often applied, as a carved stone plaque on the façade,rather than expressed in the architecture of the building itself.
The leading proponents of the art deco were Auguste Perret and Henri Sauvage. Perret designed the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the first art deco building in Paris, in 1913, just before the War. His major achievements between the wars were the building of the Mobilier National (1936) and the Museum of Public Works (1939), now the Economic and Social Council, located on place d’Iéna, with its giant rotunda and columns inspired by ancient Egypt. Sauvage expanded the La Samaritaine department store in 1931, preserving elements of the Art-Nouveau interior and façades, while giving it an art-deco form. He experimented with new, simpler forms of apartment buildings, including the stepped building, creating terraces for the upper floors; and covered concrete surfaces with white ceramic tile, resembling stone. He also was a pioneer in the use of prefabricated building materials, reducing costs and construction time.
A related Paris fashion between the wars was the pacquebot style, buildings that resembled the ocean liners of the period, with sleek white façades, rounded corners, white façades, and nautical railings. They often were built on narrow pieces of land, or on corners. One example is the building at 3 boulevard Victor in the 15th arrondissement, built in 1935.
The international expositions of the 1920s and 1930s left fewer architectural landmarks than the earlier exhibitions. The 1925 Exposition of decorative arts had several very modern buildings, the Russian pavilions, the art deco Pavillon du Collectionneur by Ruhlmann and the Pavillon d’Esprit by Le Corbusier, but they were all torn down when the exhibit ended. One impressive art deco building from the 1934 Colonial Exposition survived; the Museum of the Colonies at la Port Doréé, by Albert Laprade, 89 meters long, with a colonnade and a front wall entirely covered with a bas-relief by Alfred Janniot on the animals, plants, and cultures the theme the cultures of the French colonies. The interior was filled with sculpture and murals from the period, still visible today. Today the building is the Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration, or museum of the history of immigration.
The Paris International Exposition of 1937, held on the eve of World War II, was not a popular success; its two largest national pavilions were those of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, facing each other across the central esplanade. The chief architectural legacies were the Palais de Chaillot, where the old Palais de Trocadero had been, by Jacques Carlu, Louis Hippolyte Boileau and Léon Azema, (1935–37), built of concrete and beige stone, and the Palais de Iena, facing it. Both were built in a monumental neoclassical style. The nearby Palais de Tokyo was another exhibit legacy, designed by André Auber], Jean-Claude Dondel, Paul Viard and Marcel Dastugue (1934–37), in a similar neoclassic style, with a colonnade. It is now the modern art museum of the city of Paris. Another exhibit legacy is the former Museum of Public Works (1936–48) at Place and Avenue Iena, by Auguste Perret. It contains an impressive rotunda and conference hall with a neoclassical façade, all built of reinforced concrete. After the War it was converted into the headquarters of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council.
The architect Auguste Perret had anticipated modern residential style in 1904, with an art deco house of reinforced concrete faced with ceramics on Rue Franklin. Henri Sauvage also made art-deco residential buildings with clean geometric lines, made of reinforced concrete faced with white ceramic tiles. The architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier. went further, designing houses in geometric forms, lacking any ornament. At age of twenty-one worked as an assistant in the office of Perret. In 1922 he opened his own architectural office with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret in 1922 and built some of his first houses in Paris, notably the Villa La Roche at 10 square du Docteur-Blanche in the 16th arrondissement, built for a Swiss pharmaceuticals magnate. Built in 1923, it introduced elements found in many of Corbusier’s later buildings, including white concrete walls, was constructed in 1923, and introduced many of the themes found in Corbusier’s later work, including an interior ramp between levels and horizontal bands of windows. He also designed the furniture for the house. Robert Mallet-Stevens pursued a similar modernist style, composed of geometric shapes, walls of glass, and an absence of ornament. He built a studio and residence with a large glass wall and spiral stairway for glass designer Louis Barillet at 15 square Vergennes (15th arrondissement) and constructed a series of houses for artists, each one different, on what is now known as rue Mallet-Stevens in the 16th arrondissement. One of the most striking houses of the 1920s was the house of artist Tristan Tzara 15 avenue Junot in the 18th arrondissement. Designed by the Austrian architect Adolf Loos. The interior was completely irregular; each room was of a different size, and on a different level. Another unusual house was the Maison de Verre or “Glass house” at 31 rue Saint-Guillaume in the 7th arrondissement, built for Doctor Dalace by Pierre Chareau, with Bernard Bijvoet (1927–31). It was made entirely of bricks of glass, supported by a metal frame.
Modernist buildings built in the 1920s and 1930s were relatively rare. The most characteristic Paris residential architect of the 1920s was Michel Roux-Spitz, who built a series of large luxury apartment buildings in the 1920s and 1930s, mostly in the 6th and 7th arrondissements. The buildings were all built of reinforced concrete, and featured and had white walls, often faced with stone, and horizontal rows of three-faced bow windows, a modernized version of the Haussmann apartment buildings on the same streets.
Beginning in 1919, soon after the end of World War I, the French government began building public housing on a huge scale, particularly on the vacant land of the former fortifications around the city. The new buildings were called HBMs, or Habitations à Bon Marché (Low-cost residences]. They were concentrated to the north, east and south of the city, while a more expensive type of housing, the ILM, or Immeubles à loyer moyen, or moderate priced residences, intended for the middle class, were built to the west of the city. A special agency of architects was established to design the buildings. The first group of 2,734 new housing units, called the Cité de Montmartre was built between the Portes of Clignancourt and Montmartre between 1922 and 1928. The new buildings were constructed of concrete and brick. The earliest buildings had many decorative elements, particularly at the roofline, including concrete pergolas. The decoration became less over the years, and over time the brick gave way gradually to reinforced concrete façades.
Several new churches were built in Paris between the wars, in varied styles. The Église du Saint-Esprit, (1928–32), designed by Paul Tournon, located at 186 Avenue Daumesnil in the 12th arrondissement, designed by Paul Tournon. has a modern exterior, made of reinforced concrete covered with red brick and modern bell tower 75 meters high, but the central feature is a huge dome, 22 meters in diameter, The design, like that of the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur, was inspired by Byzantine churches. The interior was decorated with murals by several notable artists, including Maurice Denis. The Église Saint-Pierre-de-Chaillot, at 31 avenue Marceau (16th), was designed by Émile Bois (1932–38). Its tower and massive Romanesque entrance was inspired by the churches of the Perigord region. The Church of Sainte-Odile at 2 Avenue Stephane-Mallarmé (17th arrondissement), by Jacques Barges (1935–39) has a single nave, three neo-Byzantine cupolas, and the highest bell tower in Paris.
The Grand Mosque of Paris was one of the more unusual buildings constructed during the period. Intended to honor the Muslim soldiers from the French colonies who died for France during the war, it was designed by the architect Maurice Tranchant de Lunel, and built and decorated with the assistance of craftsmen from North Africa. The project was funded by the National Assembly in 1920, construction began in 1922, and it was completed in 1924, and dedicated by the President of France, Gaston Doumergue, and the Sultan of Morocco, Moulay Youssef. The style was termed “Hispano-Moorish” and the design was largely influenced by the Grand Mosque of Fez, Morocco.
After World War II (1946–2000)
The triumph of modernism
In the years after World War II, modernism became the official style for public buildings, both because it was new and fashionable, and partly because it was usually less expensive to build. Buildings were designed to express their function, using simple geometric forms, with a minimum of ornament and decoration. They were usually designed so that every office had its own window and view. The materials of choice were reinforced concrete, sometimes covered with aluminum panels, and glass. The term “Palais” used for many public buildings before the war was replaced by the more modest term “Maison”, or “House.” In place of decoration, the buildings often contained works of sculpture in interior courtyards and were surrounded by gardens. There was little if anything specifically French about the new buildings; they resembled modernist buildings in the United States and other parts of Europe, and, particularly under President Mitterrand, were often designed by internationally famous architects from other countries.
Among the earliest and most influential of the new public buildings was the Maison de la Radio, the headquarters of French national radio and television, along the Seine in the 16th arrondissement, designed by Henry Bernard (1952–63). Bernard had studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, won the Prix de Rome, and eventually became the head of the Academy of Beaux-Arts, but he converted with enthusiasm to the new style. The Maison de Radio was composed of two circular buildings fitted one inside the other; an outer circle facing the river, with a thousand offices; an inner circle made up of studios; and a 68-meter tall tower in the center, which contains the archives. It was originally designed with a concrete façade on the outer building, but it was modified and covered with a skin of aluminum and glass. It was described by its builders as a continuation toward the west of the line of great monuments beside the Seine; the Louvre, the Grand Palais, and Palais de Chaillot.
Other major public buildings in the monumental modernist style included the headquarters of UNESCO, the United Nations cultural headquarters, on Place Fontenoy in the 7th arrondissement, by Marcel Breuer, Bernard Zehrfuss and Pier Luigi Nervi (1954–58), in the form of a tripod of three wings made of reinforced concrete, with gardens between the wings. Each office in the building benefited from natural light and an exterior view. The headquarters of the French Communist Party at 2 Place du Colonel Fabien (19th arrondissement), was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, who had just finished designing Brasilia, the new Brazilian capital city. It was constructed between 1969 and 1980, and was an eight-story block built on columns above the street, with a smooth undulating glass façade. The auditorium next to the building was half buried underground, covered by a concrete dome that allowed light to enter
In the 1970s, French Presidents began to build major architectural projects which became their legacy, usually finished after they left office. The first was Georges Pompidou, a noted admirer and patron of modern art, who made plans for what became, after his death in 1974, the Centre Pompidou. It was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, and expressed all of its mechanical functions on the exterior of the building, with brightly colored pipes, ducts and escalators. The principal architectural projects begun by his successor, Giscard d’Estaing, were the conversion of the Musée D’Orsay, a central railroad station transformed into a museum devoted to 19th-century French art, (1978–86), and the City of Sciences and Industry (1980–86) in the Parc de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement, whose features included the La Géode, a geodesic sphere 36 meters in diameter made of polished stainless steel, now containing an omnimax theater (1980–86), designed by Adrien Feinsilber.
François Mitterrand (1981–95) had fourteen years in power, enough time to complete more projects than any president since Napoleon III. In the case of the Louve pyramid, he personally selected the architect, without a competition. He completed the projects begun by Giscard and began even more ambitious projects of his own, many of them designed for the celebration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989; his Grands Travaux i(“Great Works”) included the Institut du Monde Arabe, by architect Jean Nouvel, finished in 1987; the Grand Louvre, including the glass pyramid (1983–89) designed by I.M. Pei; the Grande Arche of La Defense by the Danish architect Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, a building in the form of a giant ceremonial arch, which marked the western end of the historical axis that began at the Louvre; (inaugurated July 1989); the Opera Bastille, by architect Carlos Ott, opened on July 13, 1989, the day before the bicentennial of the French Revolution, and a new building for the Ministries of the Economy and Finance, at Bercy (12th arrondissement) (1982–88), a massive building next to the Seine which resembled both a gateway to the city and a huge bridge with its feet in the river, designed by Paul Chemetov and Borja Huidobro. His last project was located on the other side of the Seine from the Finance Ministry; a group of four book-shaped glass towers for the French National Library (1989–95), designed by Dominique Perrault. The books were stored in the towers, while the reading rooms were located beneath a terrace between the buildings, with windows looking out onto a garden.
The age of towers
Until the 1960s there were no tall buildings in Paris to share the skyline with the Eiffel Tower, the tallest structure in the city; a strict height limit of thirty-five meters was in place. However, in October 1958, under the Fifth Republic, in order to permit the construction of more housing and office buildings, the rules began to change. A new urban plan for the city was adopted by the municipal council in 1959. Higher buildings were permitted, as long as they met both technical and aesthetic standards. The first new tower to be constructed was an apartment building, the Tour Croulebarbe, at 33 rue Croulebarbe in the 13th arrondissement. It was twenty-two stories, and 61 meters high, and was completed in 1961. Between 1960 and 1975, about 160 new buildings higher than fifteen stories were constructed in Paris, more than half of them in the 13th and 15th arrondissements. Most of them were about one hundred meters high; several clusters of high-rises the work one developer, Michel Holley, who built the towers of Place d’Italie, Front de Seine, and Hauts de Belleville.
Two of the projects of residential towers were especially large; 29 hectares along the banks of the Seine at Beaugrenelle, and 87 hectares between Place de l’Italie and Tolbiac. Blocks of old buildings were torn town and replaced with residential towers.
Between 1959 and 1968, the old Montparnasse railway station was demolished and rebuilt nearby, making a large parcel of land available for construction. The municipal council learned of the project only indirectly, through a message from the ministry in charge of construction projects. The first plan, proposed in 1957, was a new headquarters for Air France, a state-owned enterprise, in a tower 150 meters high. in 1959, the proposed height was increased to 170 meters. In 1965, to protect the views in the historic part of the city, the municipal council declared that the new building should be shorter, so it would not visible from the esplanade of Les Invalides. In 1967, the Prefect of Paris, representing the government of President de Gaulle, overruled the municipal council decision, raised the height to two hundred meters, to create more rentable office space. The new building, built between 1969 and 1972, was (and still is) the tallest building within the city limits.
The growing number of skyscrapers appearing on the Paris skyline provoked resistance from the Paris population. In 1975, President Giscard d’Estaing declared a moratorium on new towers within the city, and in 1977 the City of Paris was given a new Plan d’Occupation des Sols (POS) or Land use plan, which imposed a height limit of twenty-five meters in the center of Paris and 31 meters in the outer arrondissements. Also, new buildings are required to be constructed right up to the sidewalk, without setbacks, further discouraging very tall buildings. The building of skyscrapers continued outside of Paris, particularly in the new business district of La Defense.
At the end of the 20th century, he tallest structure in the City of Paris and the Île de France was still the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement, 324 meters high, completed in 1889. The tallest building in the Paris region was the Tour First, at 225 meters, located in La Defense built in 1974.
Public housing – the HLM and the barre
After the War Paris faced a severe housing shortage; most of the housing in the city dated to the 19th century, and was in terrible condition. Only two thousand new housing units were constructed between 1946 and 1950. The number rose to 4,230 in 1951 and more than 10,000 in 1956. The office of public housing of the City of Paris acquired the cheapest land it could buy, at the edges of the city. In 1961, when land within the city was exhausted, they were authorized to begin buying land in the surrounding suburbs. The first postwar social housing buildings were relatively low- three or four stories. Much larger buildings began to appear in the mid-1950s. They were built with prefabricated materials and placed in clusters. They were known as HLMs, or Habitations à loyer moderé, or moderate-cost housing. A larger type of HLM began to appear in the mid-1950s, known as a barre, because it was longer than it was high. The usually had between 200 and 300 apartments, were built in clusters, and were often some distance from shops and public transportation. They were welcomed by the families who lived there in the 1950s and early 1960s, but in later years they were crowded with recent immigrants and suffered from crime, drugs and social unrest.
Contemporary (2001- )
Paris architecture since 2000 has been very diverse, with no single dominant style. In the field of museums and monuments, the most prominent name has been Jean Nouvel. His earlier work in Paris included the Institut du Monde Arabe (1982–87), and the Fondation Cartier (1992–94), which features a glass screen between the building and the street. In 2006 he completed the Musée du Quai Branly, the Presidential project of Jacques Chirac, a museum presenting the cultures of Asia, Africa and the Americas. It also included a glass screen between the building and the street, as well as a façade covered with living plants. In 2015, he completed the new Paris symphony hall at La Villette.
The American architect Frank Gehry also made a notable contribution to Paris architect, for his American Center in Bercy (1994), which became the home of the Cinémathèque Française in 2005; and for the building of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, a museum of modern and contemporary art in the Bois de Boulogne.
A notable new style of French architecture, called Supermodernism by critic Hans Ibeling, gives precedence to the visual sensations, spatial and tactile, of the viewer looking at the façade. The best-known architects in this school are Jean Nouvel and Dominique Perrault.
The Hotel Berlier (1986–89) by Dominique Perrault, an office building at 26-34 rule Brunneseau in the 13th arrondissement, is a block of glass, whose structure is nearly invisible. Perrault also designed the new French National Library.
The headquarters of the newspaper Le Monde at 74-84 boulevard August-Blanqui in the 13th arrondissement, designed by Christian de Portzamparc (2005), has a façade that resembles the front page of the newspaper.
The administration building of the French Ministry of Culture at 182 rue Saint-Honoré (2002–04), by Francis Soler and Frédéric Druot, is an older structure whose façade is completely covered with an ornamental metal mesh.
The Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere at 2 rue Vernet, 23 rue Quentin-Bauchart and 46 avenue George-V, in the 8th arrondissement, designed by Edouard François, is covered by a skin of concrete which is a molding of the façade of an historic neighboring building.
One important theme of early 21st century Paris architecture was making buildings that were ecologically friendly.
The “Flower-Tower” built in 2004 by Edouard François, located at 23 rue-Albert-Roussel in the 17th arrondissement, is covered with the living foliage of bamboo plants, placed in concrete pots at the edges of the terraces on each floor, and watered automatically.
The façade of the university restaurant building at 3 rue Mabillon in the 6th arrondissement, built in 1954, was recovered by architect Patrick Mauger with the logs of trees, to provide better thermal isolation.
A public housing hostel for the homeless, the Centre d’hebergement Emmaüs, designed by Emmanuel Saadi in 2011, located at 179 quai de Valmy in the 10th arrondissement, is entirely covered by photo-voltaic panels for generating solar electricity.
Another important theme in 21st-century Parisian architecture is the conversion of older industrial or commercial buildings for new purposes, called in French “reconversions” or “transcriptions”.
A large grain warehouse and flour mill in the 13th arrondissement were converted between 2002 and 2007 into buildings for the Paris Diderot University campus. The architects were Nicolas Michelin and Rudy Ricciotti.
Les Docks, a large warehouse structure built before World War I alongside the Seine at 34 quai d’Austerlitz, was converted 2005–08 into the City of Fashion and Design, by means of a “plug-over” of ramps, stairways and passages. The architects were Jakob and MacFarlane.
Since the 1980s the more recent constructions of HLMs, or public housing, in Paris have tried to avoid the massive and monotonous structures of the past, with more picturesque architectural detail, variety of styles, greater use of color, and large complexes broken into smaller mini-neighborhoods. The new style, called fragmentation, was particularly pioneered by architects Christian de Portzamparc and Frédéric Borel. In one complex on rue Pierre-Rebière in the 17th arrondissement the 180 residences were designed by nine different teams of architects.
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