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Old May 17th, 2010, 04:03 AM   #61
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[QUOTE=brisavoine;57019685]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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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]
It was not Haussmann exclusively, but you can't deny that he contributed to Paris. Do I agree with the way he went about it? No, but at the same time it doesn't change what is here now and the fact that many structures he had built have become historical in themselves. What is the purpose of replacing Haussmann's structures with modern ones? Simply out of spite to his actions? How would it improve Paris? If anything it would make it less attractive. Unless you replace the structures he built with structures of equal or greater beauty, than it would simply make things worse and pay as much respect to these old buildings as Haussmann did to old Paris.

How is this not beautiful?
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Old May 17th, 2010, 07:05 AM   #62
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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.
Paris proper only has 2 million people. The rest live in the surrounding banlieus.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #63
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So the rest don't count, you want to exclude over 80% of the population.
Do you want to transform Central Paris in a museum, gated community for wealthy people who can afford an appartement here ?
The "rest" that live in the suburbs are as important as the people who live in inner Paris.

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How would it improve Paris? If anything it would make it less attractive. Unless you replace the structures he built with structures of equal or greater beauty, than it would simply make things worse and pay as much respect to these old buildings as Haussmann did to old Paris.
Why modern buildings would be ugly ?
Why do you think that the only thing that could improve Paris is the beauty ?
Don't you think that having more housing, enouth office spaces, attracting would improve more the city ?
What is attractive for the tourists is not necessary attractive for the inhabitants.

Paris is a city, not a theme park for tourists who want to see the "old world" and no longer existing stereotype.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 11:54 AM   #64
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Very interesting thread! In my opinion, Paris as it is combines the best of all worlds. It retains traces of is medieval past, but it does have a grid that ensures the function of a very big city. Of course it's a pity that so many historical buildings were lost...but the 19th century buildings are wonderful anyway - it's not like it's filled with glass boxes!
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Old May 17th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #65
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Why modern buildings would be ugly ?
Why do you think that the only thing that could improve Paris is the beauty ?
Don't you think that having more housing, enouth office spaces, attracting would improve more the city ?
What is attractive for the tourists is not necessary attractive for the inhabitants.

Paris is a city, not a theme park for tourists who want to see the "old world" and no longer existing stereotype.
Paris is a city that has been spared a great deal of destruction, it isn't a matter of staying in a specific era as much as it is refusing to fall victim to faddish styles. Paris did not get its fame because of its modern architecture and it won't gain fame if modern architecture is added, if anything, it will degrade the beauty of the city. Paris is the "old world" and an example of Europe's architectural heritage, that is something Parisians are simply going to have to accept, and Parisians are expected by the rest of the world to preserve Paris. Do you really think modern architecture would make that area more popular? I do not think so.
Now, because Paris is a living breathing city it can't be expected to do everything with only concern for tourists, but you must find a sweet middle ground between the natives and the visitors. You can reuse Haussmann's structures and turn them into offices, shops, apartments, etc while preserving the exteriors.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #66
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Great thread! Though I like Paris as a mix of old and new. But I kinda find it boring that various streets are lined with Hausmann era buildings that look the same.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by brisavoine
Come on Brisavoine, this is ugly. Way more than the Hôtel Dieu.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heywindup View Post
Paris proper only has 2 million people. The rest live in the surrounding banlieus.
London proper only has 8,000 people if we go by that logic.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 06:20 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato ku View Post
So the rest don't count, you want to exclude over 80% of the population.
Chill... I was just correcting you when you said that Central Paris has 12 million people, which is incorrect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato ku View Post
Do you want to transform Central Paris in a museum, gated community for wealthy people who can afford an appartement here ?
The "rest" that live in the suburbs are as important as the people who live in inner Paris.
I agree. That's why no matter how much more beautiful Paris is compared to London, I still prefer the latter because of that urban vitality.

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Only the Communists dared to maltreat cities more than Haussmann.
London almost shared the same fate but with ugly architecture. After the war, Lord Abercrombie proposed doing something what Haussmann did to Paris, but with ugly post-war architecture. Click here to watch a BBC video.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 07:01 PM   #70
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After the war, Lord Abercrombie proposed doing something what Haussmann did to Paris, but with ugly post-war architecture. Click here to watch a BBC video.
Ugh. What a silly old fool
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Old May 17th, 2010, 08:05 PM   #71
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Paris did not get its fame because of its modern architecture
No?





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Old May 17th, 2010, 08:45 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socrates#1fan View Post
Paris did not get its fame because of its modern architecture and it won't gain fame if modern architecture is added, if anything, it will degrade the beauty of the city. Paris is the "old world" and an example of Europe's architectural heritage, that is something Parisians are simply going to have to accept, and Parisians are expected by the rest of the world to preserve Paris.
Do you think that Paris is a big city because it is beautiful or because it is a big economic powerhouse ?
Reducing Paris as its beauty is lack of knowledge of the city.

Before being beautiful, Paris is a big city with the need of a big metropolis.

Quote:
Do you really think modern architecture would make that area more popular? I do not think so.
Some of busiest part of the city are also some of ugliest.
What attract inhabitants is having proper shops...
All the things that the Ile de la Cite don't have and cannot have because of Haussmann work.

I don't think that good modern buildings would be uglier than the Hotel Dieu, maybe for the people who cannot understand that Paris is closer to New York than Venise or Carcassonne.
Ancien is not equal to beautiful.
Modern is not equal to ugly.

Quote:
Now, because Paris is a living breathing city it can't be expected to do everything with only concern for tourists, but you must find a sweet middle ground between the natives and the visitors. You can reuse Haussmann's structures and turn them into offices, shops, apartments, etc while preserving the exteriors.
But not everything can be reused, we need to remplace some buildings.
Secondly we don't want a city, film set. Paris is not a theme park.

PS : It is inhabitants or local, not native. The majority of Parisian aren"t born in Paris.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 09:07 PM   #73
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Paris as it is today can put to shame any city in the world. Arguing about Haussmann's planned transformation in the 1860s is pointless because the answer is right here, answered. For what I can tell, the discussion is about whether or not a medieval Paris would have been better today than the Haussmann's Paris. For many reasons and with some exceptions I believe no, it wouldn't have been.

I think Haussmann was a huge benefactor. Because in essence helped Paris move into the modern world with the best possible and less painful way. Most other if not all big cities in Europe were not so lucky and suffered the loss of their heritage with nothing comparable to replace it. Think about that first.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 09:08 PM   #74
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Ancien is not equal to beautiful.
Modern is not equal to ugly.
In 99% of the cases, yes, it is. Just one example: compare Opéra Garnier with Opéra de la Bastille.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 10:47 PM   #75
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My deux cents:

1. The Police building should not be translocated imo. If it has a history with the Resistance, the fact that this happened on the Ile de la cite, the site of old Lutece, the heart of the city so to speak, adds a significance to that place, which cannot be relocated.

2. The Hotel de Dieu looks unspectacular, I think there could be achieved an improvement.

3. Now that I know that by Haussmann's time the old wooden houses had already been torn down, I can live with the Haussmannian buildings much better. They really look like pimped versions of their predecessors (which look kinda samey as well). In any case, regaining the old street roster on the Ile is a fascinating idea.

How well are the razed medieval buildings documented, if at all (there obviously is a model)?
How well are the pre-Haussmanian buildings documented? Why not create new houses, but with the old groundplans (if possible)?
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Old May 17th, 2010, 11:11 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay Hefner View Post
Why not create new houses, but with the old groundplans (if possible)?
This is what Brisavoine proposing.

Remplacing those big administrative buildings by modern buildings using the pre-haussmannian streets grid.
Instead of huge empty wall, we would have small pedestrian streets with shop, restaurants, café...
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:33 AM   #77
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the fact that this happened on the Ile de la cite, the site of old Lutece
Archeologists have never found any proof that the pre-Roman Lutetia was located on the Île de la Cité. They now think that it was in fact located at the confluence of the Bièvre and the Seine rivers (location of the current Gare d'Austerlitz). Another theory is that the pre-Roman Lutetia was in fact Nanterre, near La Défense, a large Gaulish city which is attested by archaeological excavations and which could be the same as the pre-Roman Lutetia.
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Now that I know that by Haussmann's time the old wooden houses had already been torn down, I can live with the Haussmannian buildings much better.
Maybe there were still some wooden houses on the Île de la Cité by Haussmann's time. The very few pictures of the Île de la Cité before Haussmann's demolitions that I have seen don't show any half-timbered houses, but that doesn't mean there weren't any (there are only very few pictures available on the internet).

What's certain is that by Haussmann's time most wooden houses had been demolished and replaced by taller and plainer apartment buildings, but maybe there were still some old Medieval wooden houses here and there.

The three views below offer an interesting glimpse at the evolution of Paris over time. They show the Cimetière des Innocents, the largest cemetery in Medieval Paris, in the heart of the city. Now it's Place Joachim du Bellay, in the 1st arrondissement, if you want to look at it on a map.

This is how the Cimetière des Innocents looked like in 1550. As you can see, Paris still looked Medieval, with half-timbered houses everywhere (but much taller houses than in German cities or smaller French cities):


This is the exact same place in 1750. As you can see, almost all the half-timbered houses had already been destroyed and replaced by taller and plainer buildings covered with Paris plaster to prevent fire (note that below the plaster, all these buildings probably had timber frame):


For sanitary reasons, the Cimetière des Innocents was closed in 1786-1787. After more than 600 years of use, this huge cemetery contained about 2 million corpses, and its ground was 1.6 meters above the street level due to the masses of bodies piled over time. Parts of the cemetery collapsed in the basement of neighboring buildings releasing foul smells in the area, so they decided to close it and carry all the earth and bones to some quarries near the city which they named the "Catacombes". It took 15 months to carry 10,000 cubic meters of earth and bones to the Catacombes, at night, every night of the year except during the summer heat. The ground of the cemetery was then turned into a market square.

This is how it looked like in 1850, just before Haussmann became Prefect of Paris. As you can see, most of the buildings that existed in 1750 are still there (but the Medieval church and the ancient monuments in the middle of the cemetery were destroyed, and a Renaissance fountain which was previously located behind the church was put in the middle of the square):


A more detailed painting from 1854. As you can see, a few wooden houses from the Middle Ages with their pointed roofs apparently still existed here and there, although their timber frame had been covered with white Paris plaster:
[img]http://i44.************/nd1jck.jpg[/img]

And this is the same place today. The row of buildings that was behind the fountain in the 1854 painting is the same row that is to the left of this picture.
[img]http://i41.************/i1fiqa.jpg[/img]

As you can see, all the buildings to the left of the fountain (including the two Medieval houses with pointeed roofs that still existed in 1854, behind the fountain) were replaced by Haussmannian buildings. The building with the scaffolding to the right of the fountain, however, which you can't see in the 1854 painting (it would have been outside the painting to the right), but which you can see in the views of 1850 and 1750 to the right, has survived Haussmann. This building was built in 1669 (it replaced a row of wooden Medieval houses with pointed roofs), and it has remained until today. Parts of the Cimetière des Innocents collapsed in the basements of this building in the 18th century, which led to the closure of the cemeterry.

So about the Île de la Cité, it probably underwent the same process that happened here around the Cimetière des Innocents, but by Haussmann's time there were perhaps still some old Medieval houses with pointed roofs on the Île de la Cité, althought I haven't seen any photo of them so far.
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How well are the razed medieval buildings documented, if at all (there obviously is a model)?
There is almost no testimony of the Medieval buildings that were razed before 1700. The first systematic drawing of Parisian buildings started in the 18th century. Before that, there are only very few drawings and views.

Here is one of them, from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, painted in the beginning of the 15th century, a few years before Joan of Arc. It shows the Medieval palace of the Kings of France on the Île de la Cité (the western tip of the Île de la Cité), which is now the Palace of Justice. The farmers in the foreground are on the Left Bank. Note that the Left Bank (here St Germain-des-Prés) was in fact urbanized and not a countryside, so the painter here put the Royal Palace out of context (although it is considered his depiction of the Royal Palace is a true one). Note the Sainte Chapelle to the right of the palace. Some of the towers to the left of the palace still exist today, along the Seine, facing the Right Bank. The gardens of the palace have now become the Place Dauphine.



Another pre-18th century drawing. It shows the Tour de Nesle on the Left Bank (now the location of the French Academy). It was drawn in the beginning of the 17th century. The Île de la Cité is in the background behind the Pont Neuf. The Place Dauphine (whose buildings you can see above the Pont Neuf) has already been built, and it hides the view of the Sainte-Chapelle.


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How well are the pre-Haussmanian buildings documented?
Pre-Haussmannian buildings are usually well documented. There are probably many pictures of the streets on Île de la Cité just before Haussman's demolitions, so we could rebuild a lot of them as they were back then, but it wouldn't make much sense, since most of these buildings were rather plain as you can see on the two pictures of the Île de la Cité that I posted.
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Last edited by brisavoine; May 18th, 2010 at 01:48 AM.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:56 AM   #78
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Very nice post!

http://maps.google.nl/?ie=UTF8&ll=48...3.48,,0,-14.27

On Google Maps I found this --> Between the buildings and above the tiny building, you can see that there still is a wooden construction. You just can't see it at all those other buildings in Paris, but most of them still has it

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Old May 18th, 2010, 02:02 AM   #79
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A current view of the Place Joachim du Bellay (former Cimetière des Innocents) which was taken from an angle more similar to the 1854 painting. Apparently one building (with a red arrow) has survived Haussmann. The other buildings on that row were demolished and rebuilt in Haussmannian style. The two Medieval houses with pointed roofs were also demolished.



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Old May 18th, 2010, 02:06 AM   #80
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Thanks for the answers and for posting those marvellous pics.

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What's certain is that by Haussmann's time most wooden houses had been demolished and replaced by taller and plainer apartment buildings, but maybe there were still some old Medieval wooden houses here and there.
Quote:
This is how the Cimetière des Innocents looked like in 1550. As you can see, Paris still looked Medieval, with half-timbered houses everywhere (but much taller houses than in German cities or smaller French cities):
This looks...awesome. This would be the most beautiful square with half-timbered buildings in the World hands down.
I wonder why they had to tear down so many of the wooden buildings, some of those were HUGE.
In Frankfurt, they had a similar phase a few decades later, but that wasn't nearly as destructive. Old town Frankfurt was completely crammed, but most of the houses survived until the destruction.

Quote:
A more detailed painting from 1854. As you can see, a few wooden houses from the Middle Ages with their pointed roofs apparently still existed here and there, although their timber frame had been covered with white Paris plaster:
[img]http://i44.************/nd1jck.jpg[/img]
(...)
Pre-Haussmannian buildings are usually well documented. There are probably many pictures of the streets on Île de la Cité just before Haussman's demolitions, so we could rebuild a lot of them as they were back then, but it wouldn't make much sense, since most of these buildings were rather plain as you can see on the two pictures of the Île de la Cité that I posted.
Hmm, this is still an awesome square, but I do see what you mean.

Quote:
There is almost no testimony of the Medieval buildings that were razed before 1700. The first systematic drawing of Parisian buildings started in the 18th century. Before that, there are only very few drawings and views.
That settles that, then. Paintings alone wouldn't really suffice to actually reconstruct the medieval houses, you'd probably end up with some ridiculous, very speculative reconstruction.
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