Here’s a lovely example of new and old buildings coexisting

Perhaps more than any other city I’ve visited, Paris is dominated by a single architectural style. The white, Second Republic mid-rises are so famous they’re virtually metonyms for the city itself.

But despite the ubiquity of the those buildings, Paris actually has some laudable architectural diversity. Case in point, this building, which I saw on my most recent visit:



What’s great about this building is that it’s thoroughly modern while still fitting in perfectly with its surroundings. In other words, it adheres to historic forms and is undeniably Parisian but is also creative and unique.

Most importantly, the experience on the street wasn’t diminished in any way for having a modern-looking building, as opposed to a new-but-old-looking building.

That suggests to me that quarrels with modern (or, more accurately, postmodern) architecture probably have more to do things like street engagement, street cohesion, etc. than with actual appearance. Ultimately, if new buildings employ the formal vocabulary of their neighbors, as this building does, they can actually get away with being quite inventive.


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