a notebook.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

"Grands Ensembles"

Denise, 81, Cité du Parc et cité Maurice-Thorez, Ivry-sur-Seine, 2015
Photograph: Laurent Kronental
Les espaces d'Abraxas et al....

Not all from Noisy-le-Grand, Here is a taste of the grands ensembles of Paris and surrounds.
These modernist buildings, known as grands ensembles, were France’s response to a severe post-war housing shortage. Between 1954 and 1973, the country erected public housing in the suburbs surrounding the City of Light. These towering structures, which included some six million units, embodied the prevailing idea that modernist architecture could help foster a utopian state by improving people’s lives. “They were praised as places where men could blossom away from the agitation of big cities,” Kronental says. 
In the end, the grands ensembles didn’t succeed in bringing about a modernist utopia. It wasn’t long after the first of them went up that poverty and crime began to plague the projects. France stopped commissioning them in 1973, though some were constructed into the 1980s. Many have been demolished, with even more slated to be torn down as they age. Kronental, however, thinks they are worthy of celebrating. “They amaze me. They are unique,” he says. “Of course they should be preserved.” - via  
Les Tours Aillaud, Cité Pablo Picasso, Nanterre 2014, Laurent Kronental 
Joseph, 88, Les Espaces d’Abraxas, Noisy-le-Grand, 2014
Photograph: Laurent Kronental
José, 89, Les Damiers, Courbevoie, 2012
Photograph: Laurent Kronenta
Joseph, 88, Les Espaces d’Abraxas, Noisy-le-Grand, 2014
Photograph: Laurent Kronental
Le Pavé Neuf, Noisy-le-Grand, 2015
Photograph: Laurent Kronental
Les Orgues de Flandre, 19e arrondissement Paris, 2014
Photograph: Laurent Kronental 
Jean, 89, Puteaux-La Défense, 2011
Photograph: Laurent Kronental
Jacques, 82, Le Viaduc et les Arcades du Lac, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, 2015
Photograph: Laurent Kronental
Roland, 85, Les Arcades du Lac, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, 2015
Photograph: Laurent Kronental 
Les Espaces d’Abraxas, Noisy-le-Grand, 2014
Photograph: Laurent Kronental 
Lucien, 84, Les Espaces d’Abraxas, Noisy-le-Grand, 2014
Photograph: Laurent Kronental

Sources include, but not limited to:
Laurent Kronental's work documenting these estates and their elderly residents
Guardian Slideshow
Arch Daily 
Untapped Cities - good overview
Wired

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