Architecture Around the World Part 5 – Modern French Architecture

Colourful French balconies | Featured image for the Modern French Architecture Blog by Clements Clarke Architects.

France as a country of its own is renowned for its impeccable architecture, dating all the way back to around the 11th and 12th centuries, where cities were adorned in Romanesque styled architecture, up until now – where we enjoy structures such as the Champs- Élysées, the Palace of Versailles, Arenes de Nimes and Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris to name a few.

Modern French architecture has taken on a whole new meaning, adorning the beautiful country of France in neoclassical buildings, symmetrical facades, and nothing short of grandiose finishes; it’s easy to see why French architecture is so captivating.

An Exploration of Modern French Architecture

Prominent Architects

Le Corbusier

Known for being a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner AND writer, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret became nothing short of a pioneer for what is now regarded as modern French architecture – and modern architecture itself. With a career spanning over 5 decades, Le Corbusier cemented his name through structures across Europe, Japan, India, as well as North and South America – most notably with buildings such as the Anatole Schwob House in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, The Villa La Roche-Jeanneret (now Fondation Le Corbusier), Corbusier House, and Villa Savoye in Poissy.

Dominique Perrault

French architect and urban planner, Dominique Perrault, became a world renowned figure in architecture thanks to his design of the French National Library and receiving the Mies van der Roche Prize, among many other successes. Perrault’s work can be seen in major museums around the world and has become a lead in parallel significant heritage rehabilitation projects, including that of Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, Dufour Pavilion at Versailles, and La Poste du Louvre in Paris. His work can be seen in France, Japan, Spain, and Austria, to name a few.

Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel has received a number of prestigious distinctions throughout his career, including the Wolf Prize in Arts, the Pritzker Price and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Since the 1970s, Nouvel has broken aesthetics of what we know to be modernism and post-modernism to create a stylistic language of his own. One of the biggest focal points in his designs, is ensuring that each building stands in harmony with its surroundings – removing any potential obstruction to the landscape. He has designed a number of notable buildings right across the world – and remains an active fundamental in the world of French architecture.

Stand Out Modern French Architecture

Marengo Multimodal Transport Hub – Toulouse, France

This specific project is being designed to expand the functionality of the Toulouse central station, Gare Matabiau, with the intention of supporting and strengthening the area’s public transport networks. This is to enforce hubs for buses, railway, and metro, all being housed under one monumental piece of architecture. The shape of this extraordinary hub has been designed with intention, directing the city’s busses, trains, and even bicycle lanes to designated parts of the city. A prominent feature of the Marengo Multimodal Transport Hub is the structure of the roof, featuring photovoltaics that complement the colour of the roof, along with punctured skylights to connect the community further to nature.

With a multitude of passengers travelling to and from the central station every day, the dimensions of this hub have had to expand accordingly – with the expectation of the current number to triple. Built mainly out of mass timber, its structure rises gracefully from the main entrance, stimulating visual connections across all floors, allowing natural daylight to rest throughout the interior, and allowing for seamless navigation points.

Bayeux Tapestry Museum – Bayeux, France

The former architectural elements of this building have been proposed for restoration, with the project aimed at retaining its key heritage elements. This specific space takes the geometry and adapts it to different spatial qualities to complement the projects large scale – the same can be said about the topography of the site, aligning it with existing building axes, whilst introducing dynamism through the roofing line.

When discussing this project with the architects, RSHP, they revealed that the visitors’ journey within and around this museum was the driving force guiding the architectural solution. Prominently throughout the Tapestry Museum are dynamic perspectives, geometry, space, light, and atmosphere – multiplying and varying the nature of each visitor’s encounter.

August Benedict School – Southern France

Nicknamed the ‘Fossil Building’ by French studio Amelia Tavella Architects, this beautiful school in Southern France pays homage and references fossils for the infamous textured stone façade of the August Benedict School, designed as if it had ‘emerged from the earth’. Located in Cabriès, the pale tone of this building draws on not only a fossil finish, but masonry structures that are typically found within the Cabriès village itself. Prominent in this specific architectural masterpiece is the green roof, allowing the Fossil Building to blend seamlessly with its hillside when viewed from above, opening the landscape from below.

On the ground floor, the façade is completely glazed, sheltered by the overhang of the first floor above, giving all classrooms safe passage to the outdoors. Drawing your eyes from the ground floor to the exterior façade, the school is hugged entirely by panels of pale limestone, treated with two different textured finishes for added uniqueness. On the inside of the building, the classrooms are geometric features, with wood-lined cutouts and cupboards that double as seating and storage. This school is the epitome of modern French architecture.

Bring French Architecture to Life with Clements Clarke Architects

If you’re looking to transform the façade of your current home, or you have an upcoming build and you want it to stand out – give Clements Clarke Architects a call on 07 3852 3944 or reach out through our online form. We are considered one of the go-to architecture firms Brisbane homeowners trust when seeking high end designs, building outside of the box with our architecture design services.

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