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Old May 15th, 2010, 04:49 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by heywindup View Post
Well, look at the bright side, at least Paris was relatively spared from bombs compared to London, and *gasp*, Rotterdam or Warsaw.
There are days when I would have prefered Paris to be bombed honestly...

Now we're stuck with cold Haussmannian buildings in Paris, it's impossible to regenerate the city center because the authorities have turned it into a dead sanctuary. And at the same time the beautiful old cities of Orléans, Tours, and Rouen went up in flames due to the German Luftwaffe in 1940 who deliberately dropped incendiary bombs on these cities when the Battle of France was already won for the Germans and there was no point bombing these cities.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 05:08 AM   #42
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I'm the forumer who opened this debate about destroying Haussmannian buildings to regenerate the city center of Paris. In some areas (such as around the St Lazare train station, in the heart of the Paris central business district), I proposed to replace some Haussmannian buildings with skyscrapers. On the Île de la Cité, the island which was the historical heart of Paris, I proposed to destroy the Haussmannian buildings and recreate the Medieval street grid which Haussmann destroyed in the 1860s.


I proposed to destroy the big ugly administrative buildings built by Haussmann and to recreate the Medieval street grid within the area delineated by the red line (map below). I also proposed to built two pedestrian bridges (in green on the map below) across the Seine River to link this rebuilt Medieval district to the Left and Righ banks. In this rebuilt Medieval district, only the street grid would be Medieval, but the buildings themselves wouldn't be copies of Medieval buildings, which would look tacky and fake. The buildings would be smart buildings, not looking too modern, but not looking fake Medieval either (a good example of this are the buildings rebuilt around Paternoster Square in London, near St Paul's Cathedral). This rebuilt Medieval district should become the central party district of Paris, bringing back life to the dead Île de la Cité. I thought for example the buildings along the rebuilt Medieval streets could be used as dorms for university students (in Paris there is a lack of dorms for students, so it would fill a gap), and the ground floors of the buildings would host bars, restaurants, little boutiques, etc.



I ]
Is the answer really to demolish Haussmann’s structures? Do they not take on their own historical significance at this point? I don’t believe the answer is to demolish these structures and try to rebuild the medieval ones. Also, what do you mean by reconstructions? The new structures in the plaza you show are not worth the structures that are there now. Unless they were faithful reconstructions, I think it would do more harm than good.
Instead perhaps we can learn to preserve these structures so the same does not happen again, who is to say down the road people wouldn’t have the same regrets about demolishing these structures?
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Old May 15th, 2010, 05:39 AM   #43
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Is the answer really to demolish Haussmann’s structures? Do they not take on their own historical significance at this point? I don’t believe the answer is to demolish these structures and try to rebuild the medieval ones. Also, what do you mean by reconstructions? The new structures in the plaza you show are not worth the structures that are there now.
You don't seem to be very familiar with Paris. In the area that I have delineated with the red line, there are only two buildings, and vast empty windswept squares. These two buildings are the Prefecture of Police and the new Hôtel Dieu which replaced the Medieval Hôtel Dieu. Both of them are universally considered to be the ugliest and coldest Haussmannian buildings in Paris. There would be few people who would regret these two buildings, particularly the extremely ugly Hôtel Dieu.

This is the Hôtel Dieu (built between 1866-1878 after having totally obliterated the oldest Medieval district of Paris going back to Roman times):




And this is the Prefecture of Police (built between 1863-1867):
image hosted on flickr


[img]http://i40.************/4vqvll.jpg[/img]

Note that in my project I proposed to destroy entirely the ugly Hôtel Dieu, but the Prefecture of Police, due to its symbol as the headquarter of the Résistance during the Liberation of Paris in 1944, wouldn't be destroyed, it would instead be moved to the inner suburbs where a new, larger Prefecture of Police complex would be built, closer to the ethnic ghettoes of the suburbs, with the old Prefecture of Police building at the center of this complex (it would be moved using the same technique that was used to move the temple of Abu Simbel in the 1960s)

Last edited by brisavoine; May 15th, 2010 at 05:52 AM.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 05:56 AM   #44
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Parisians are spoiled that hotel isn't that bad looking and that police department is beautiful. Are they the most beautiful structures in Paris? No, but I think they deserve some respect.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 05:59 AM   #45
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Here you're at the very geographic center of one of the top 4 world global cities. It deserves better than some average buildings that would look good in some 2nd or 3rd-tier city. When I visit midtown Manhattan, I don't expect to find there the same sorts of buildings I would find in Topeka, Kansas. That's as simple as that.

PS: The Hôtel Dieu is not a hotel, it's a hospital, as I explained in the previous page.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
Here is the link: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=927486

There is also this thread: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=984232

I'm the forumer who opened this debate about destroying Haussmannian buildings to regenerate the city center of Paris. In some areas (such as around the St Lazare train station, in the heart of the Paris central business district), I proposed to replace some Haussmannian buildings with skyscrapers. On the Île de la Cité, the island which was the historical heart of Paris, I proposed to destroy the Haussmannian buildings and recreate the Medieval street grid which Haussmann destroyed in the 1860s.
Great idea. I hadn't seen you had proposed it in the french thread (which I found tedious, and didn't read thoroughly). Actually, I had the very same idea a few years ago.
But the buildings you give as examples are maybe too high if you really want to recreate the medieval street pattern (with very narrow streets). Maybe we should consider rebuilding a few old looking buildings and houses as well, which would help the project to gain acceptance and make a better transition with the surviving old areas on the left bank and Cité itself (eastern part).
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Old May 15th, 2010, 11:20 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post

Note that in my project I proposed to destroy entirely the ugly Hôtel Dieu, but the Prefecture of Police, due to its symbol as the headquarter of the Résistance during the Liberation of Paris in 1944, wouldn't be destroyed, it would instead be moved to the inner suburbs where a new, larger Prefecture of Police complex would be built, closer to the ethnic ghettoes of the suburbs, with the old Prefecture of Police building at the center of this complex (it would be moved using the same technique that was used to move the temple of Abu Simbel in the 1960s)
Some parts of the Prefecture de Police could also stay where they are now (I mean the tower where the french flag was hoisted, or the parts of the facades which still display bullet's holes), and have new buildings built around it.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 11:34 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
/.../
And at the same time the beautiful old cities of Orléans, Tours, and Rouen went up in flames due to the German Luftwaffe in 1940 who deliberately dropped incendiary bombs on these cities when the Battle of France was already won for the Germans and there was no point bombing these cities.
In Rouen, the German army even prevented the firemen from extincting the fire, which consequently lasted for days. But the burning is generally considered accidental (it is supposed to be a consequence of a german tank being fired during the battle near the Seine River).

We shouldn't forget the smaller but then beautiful old cities of Beauvais and Abbeville, in Picardy, which were also destroyed in 1940 during the German invasion.
But the biggest loss, as far as old timber frame houses are concerned, is imo the destruction of Lisieux (Normandy) in 1944.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 02:35 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
Fortunately Normandy still possess some smaller towns which have survived the war unscathed, with their half-timbered houses.
You're right, but by definition, the most beautiful and impressive houses and streets were located in bigger towns like Lisieux or Rouen.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 04:17 PM   #50
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Great thread, guys!

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Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
There are days when I would have prefered Paris to be bombed honestly...

Now we're stuck with cold Haussmannian buildings in Paris, it's impossible to regenerate the city center because the authorities have turned it into a dead sanctuary...
Why to regenerate something that is near to perfection? For some people Paris may look like a dead sanctuary, but for others it's the most beautiful city in the world. What Haussmann did can be considered vandalism, but on the other hand it's his architecture that made Paris look harmonious. The idea of destroying his work and replacing 19th century architecture by postmodern buildings of questionable value is a big mistake. It could have disastrous consequences. You Parisians are really spoiled
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Old May 15th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socrates#1fan View Post
Parisians are spoiled that hotel isn't that bad looking and that police department is beautiful. Are they the most beautiful structures in Paris? No, but I think they deserve some respect.
Having a such dead land in heart of the city is a shame.
Before Ile de la Cité was the living heart of the city, not a dead administrative area where almost only tourists set a foot.

If you ask a parisian when was the last time he has been in Ile de la Cite.
I wouldn't be suprised to hear "never" for most of the case.
Ile de la Cité is not a peripheral part but the heart.

About administrations, I think most will leave the island within this decade or the next one.
Buildings are undersized and cannot be extended, a big renovation would cost a fortune.
It is far less expensive and more convenient to be in modern building in less central area.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 06:01 PM   #52
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The idea of destroying his work and replacing 19th century architecture by postmodern buildings of questionable value is a big mistake. It could have disastrous consequences.
The area on the Île de la Cité delineated by the red line where I proposed to tear down the Hôtel Dieu and the Prefecture of Police, and recreate the Medieval street grid, covers only 0.05 km² (or 5 hectares), when the Haussmannian hypercenter of Paris covers 35 km². So the area in my proposal is only 0.15% of the Haussmannian hypercenter of Paris, just to put things into perspective.

In Paris the higest densities reach 100,000 inh. per km² in the densest blocks of the city, so at the most this rebuilt area of 5 hectares on the Île de la Cité could host 5,000 people. Perhpad 5,000 students, that would be quite lively.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 06:07 PM   #53
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The Île de la Cité in 1754, before the first destructions of the Medieval street grid took place (extraordinarily detailed map by Jean Delagrive, chief geographer of the City of Paris):
[img]http://i43.************/2ijn909.jpg[/img]

The Île de la Cité today:
[img]http://i39.************/s26snd.jpg[/img]

Close-up of the central section of the Île de la Cité in 1754:
[img]http://i40.************/4sz2xi.jpg[/img]

The same area today (the enormous and monstruous Hôtel Dieu built in the 1870s obliterated the largest part of the oldest Medieval district of Paris which went back to Roman times):
[img]http://i41.************/11k9naw.jpg[/img]
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Old May 15th, 2010, 06:58 PM   #54
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This is how the Medieval streets on the Île de la Cité looked like in 1858. This picture was taken at the corner of Rue St Landry and Rue des Marmousets. This entire district was razed to the ground shortly after this picture was taken, and the ugly Hôtel Dieu now occupies all the ground.

I'm indicating the exact place where the picture was taken on Delagrive's map (photograper facing the west):
[img]http://i42.************/nlphdi.png[/img]

And this is the picture:


Another one. This one shows the Rue du Haut-Moulin. Again razed to the ground to make way for the Hôtel Dieu. The photographer was facing west.

[img]http://i41.************/2cr6hds.png[/img]



The central section of the Île de la Cité in 1857 as seen from the towers of Notre Dame:


The same place 8 years later in 1865 after Haussmann had razed to the ground all the Medieval streets to build the Prefecture of Police:


Another view of the central section of the Île de la Cité before Haussmann's massacre:
[img]http://i41.************/akhfno.jpg[/img]

The destruction of the Île de la Cité in the 1860s:




The central section of the Île de la Cité before the massacre (photographer is facing south). All the buildings in this picture were destroyed shortly after to make way for the ugly Hôtel Dieu:


The same place only 10 years later. The most ancient Medieval district of Paris has disappeared, replaced by windswept squares and the enormous Hôtel Dieu:
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Old May 15th, 2010, 07:31 PM   #55
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I also find it a big loss that Île de la Cité was destroyed, but my point is, are we going to create a better situation by replacing original 19th century architecture that in meantime has gained its own value, and bringing postmodern qualities into its place. To be honest I wouldn't like to see this there:



[IMG]http://*************************/london/jpgs/london_building_aw230607_3111.jpg[/IMG]

Last edited by AMS guy; May 15th, 2010 at 07:37 PM.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 08:05 PM   #56
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are we going to create a better situation by replacing original 19th century architecture that in meantime has gained its own value?
The Hôtel Dieu has gained its own value ?

I don't think there is any person in Paris, not even the people most opposed to modernism, who like the Hôtel Dieu. It's a blight on the face of Paris.

This is a true Hôtel Dieu (this one in Beaune, Burgundy). Hôtel Dieu (literally "hostel of God") were the public hospitals run by the Church during the Middle Ages:


This was the Medieval Hôtel Dieu of Paris (to the left of the Episcopat) built by King Saint Louis in the 13th century. Part of it burnt during the fire of 1772, and what remained of it was razed to the ground by Haussmann in the 1860s:


The Medieval Hôtel Dieu in 1718 during the fire of the Petit Pont (the bridge in the picture whose houses burnt):


The Hôtel Dieu in 1703:


The Hôtel Dieu and the Episcopat under the reign of Louis XIII:


And this is the, hm, current Hôtel Dieu of Paris built in the 1870s:


[img]http://i39.************/25ey69k.jpg[/img]







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Old May 15th, 2010, 10:43 PM   #57
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Alright, let me put it this way: what is the main problem with this building then? Is it bad because it's ugly, too massive, misplaced, not open to the outside world, interrupts by ignoring the medieval street pattern? What I wanted to point is that restoring the original street grid and placing modern architecture there, doesn't guarantee anything good. Actually it would be just the same what Haussmann did - an example of showing no respect to the evolution of the city in past centuries. You wrote in one of your previous posts that reconstruction of pre-1860 buildings might lack authenticity and therefore you propose architecture referring to Paternoster Square in London. Honestly, authentic 19th century buildings have more value to me, that any postmodern experiment which needs time to prove itself. Hotel Dieu may be ugly, but it fits in the vision of rebuilding the city, it's a part of the masterplan that resulted in changing the face of Paris completely and which made it what it's famous for today. To me the only way would be an exact reconstruction of medieval Île de la Cité, based on documentation available (if there is any).
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Old May 17th, 2010, 01:52 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato ku View Post
Having a such dead land in heart of the city is a shame.
Before Ile de la Cité was the living heart of the city, not a dead administrative area where almost only tourists set a foot.

If you ask a parisian when was the last time he has been in Ile de la Cite.
I wouldn't be suprised to hear "never" for most of the case.
Ile de la Cité is not a peripheral part but the heart.

About administrations, I think most will leave the island within this decade or the next one.
Buildings are undersized and cannot be extended, a big renovation would cost a fortune.
It is far less expensive and more convenient to be in modern building in less central area.

Well in that case there should be a way to repurpose the structures to be more about attracting residents and visitors, though destroying these structures and replacing them with modern ones would be far worse.
Yes this structure is plain, but it is still beautiful. Is it Notre Dame? No. Is Sacré-Cœur Basilica? No. Is it the city hall? No.
The only way I would in any form support demolishing this structure is if the previous structures were reconstructed entirely, no "interpretations" or "more modern" versions.
Paris is a beautiful city, but part of that is because of Haussmann, as much as people here hate him.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 02:46 AM   #59
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Well in that case there should be a way to repurpose the structures to be more about attracting residents and visitors, though destroying these structures and replacing them with modern ones would be far worse.
Yes this structure is plain, but it is still beautiful. Is it Notre Dame? No. Is Sacré-Cœur Basilica? No. Is it the city hall? No.
The only way I would in any form support demolishing this structure is if the previous structures were reconstructed entirely, no "interpretations" or "more modern" versions.
Paris is a beautiful city, but part of that is because of Haussmann, as much as people here hate him.
If people reacted like that in the 19th century, Paris wouldn't have the Eiffel tower, the grand train stations, the Haussmannian buildings...

I don't see how it could be worse and I don't see why we couldn't build modern architecture in Central Paris.
Pastiche can be good in place where ancien architecture is rare, it is not the case of Paris.

Nobody should forget that Central Paris is the heart of a 12 million inhabitants city, the heart of a big transportation system not a museum to please tourists.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 03:06 AM   #60
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The only way I would in any form support demolishing this structure is if the previous structures were reconstructed entirely, no "interpretations" or "more modern" versions.
Which previous structures? The buildings as they existed in 1860 just before they were demolished by Haussmann? Or the buildings as they existed in 1700, which was quite different from 1860? Or as they existed in 1500, which was quite different from 1700?

For an Île de la Cité full of beautiful half-timbered houses, you'd have to take a time machine back to 1500. In 1860, as you can see in the two pictures I posted above, the streets of the Île de la Cité had no half-timbered houses anymore, they were lined with plain nondescript tall apartment buildings for working class people which you can still see in the many streets of the Left and Right bank that haven't been touched by Haussmann.
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Paris is a beautiful city, but part of that is because of Haussmann, as much as people here hate him.
I don't agree. Paris was rendered practical by Haussmann, trafficable, but Paris is not beautiful because of Haussmann. Paris is beautiful because of Ange Gabriel who built the Place de la Concorde. Paris is beautiful because of Hardouin-Mansart who built the Invalides. Paris is beautiful because of Gustave Eiffel who built the Eiffel Tower. Paris is beautiful because of François Ier, Henri IV, Louis XIV and the architects they hired to build the Louvre. Paris is beautiful because of the Marquise de Pompadour who hired Gabriel to build the Ecole Militaire. Paris is beautiful because of Domenico le Boccador who built the City Hall. Paris is beautiful because of Charles Garnier who built the Opéra and Napoléon III who had the guts to approve the unconventional design of Charles Garnier. Paris is beautiful because of Louis-Philippe who had the brilliant idea to put the Obelisk of Luxor in the middle of the Place de la Concorde. Paris is beautiful because of Hittorff who built the Gare du Nord. Paris is beautiful because of Otto von Spreckelsen who built the Grande Arche of La Défense. Paris is beautiful because of I.M. Pei who built the Louvre Pyramid and president François Mitterrand who had the guts to approve such a bold project. Paris is beautiful because of Renzo Piano who built the Pompidou Centre and president George Pompidou who had the guts to approve such a bold project.

Haussmann was essentially a destroyer, a man interested in the utilitarian aspects of Paris. And if he could have remained prefect of Paris for a little longer, he would have destroyed much more districts than he was able to do during his time in office (the lovely area of Saint-Germain-des-Prés was the next target, it was envisioned to continue the Rue de Rennes to the Right Bank by obliterating the central part of that Medieval district), and he would have straightened and enlarged much more Medieval streets if he had had time. He even tore down part of the Medieval church of Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles because it blocked the alignement of the Boulevard de Sébastopol. Only the Communists dared to maltreat cities more than Haussmann.

That's the Medieval church of Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles whose back side was torn down by Haussmann because it blocked the alignment of the Boulevard de Sébastopol:
[img]http://i40.************/25tf23r.jpg[/img]

Last edited by brisavoine; May 17th, 2010 at 03:16 AM.
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