Forget the Eiffel tower and take a Brutalist tour of Paris


Grandval’s famous brussels sprout-shaped structures in Créteil near Paris (above) are among the forty locations featured in « Brutalist Paris », Blue Crow Media’s last « architourism » map.

During the 1960s and 1970s, architects such as Oscar Niemeyer, Marcel Breuer, Claude Parent, Harry Seidler and Le Corbusier took part to the brutalist boom in the capital city and its suburbs.

Robin Wilson, an historian and one of the map’s editors, penned a short essay for the occasion. He explains that Paris did not build many Brutalist cultural institutions, unlike other European capitals, but mostly housing, government buildings and university campuses.

France’s population swelled in the 1960s from a combination of natural growth and immigration from colonial countries. President Charles de Gaulle had to cope with the growth and plan for the future. New development followed the utopian vision of modernism: tall, single-function towers in a park and heterogeneous land uses.


“The thing of note in Paris is the eclecticism of the period: It’s a quite diverse range of materials and of form making,” Wilson told Co.Design. “I would say that there is a rather more experimental edge to Parisian Brutalism to that found in London, which may stem from a desire of that generation not to be seen to be too indebted to Le Corbusier—whose mid-1950s works, such as the Maison du Bresil within la Cité Universitaire, could be said to be an originating works of postwar Brutalism—or paying homage to him.”

Wilson adds that “the act of traveling to all of these Brutalist sites, from periphery to the center, facilitates a completely different impression of Paris itself. This was perhaps the most revelatory part of the project: to discover a completely different Paris from the one we thought we knew. In this sense, the journey between the buildings is as important as the destinations themselves.”

Architourists, grab your Brutalist Paris map on and embark on a Parisian, off the beaten paths journey!



Something to Say?

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.