Les Halles - réflexion de l'ensemble Les Halles - vue générale reflétée dans une fenêtre du bâtiment même

Following a struggle between Giscard d'Estaing (then President, favouring architect Ricardo Boffill) and Jacques Chirac (then mayor of Paris), architects Claude Vasconi and Georges Pencreac'h were charged with the challenge to fill the huge space on top of the new underground railway and subway stations. They created one of the biggest shopping centres in Europe, but unfortunately, nobody stopped them and gave them a second chance to improve their design. That is why a new huge project is under way today to replace their 70's architecture. (Click here for more information.)
Click on the small images to enlarge

Les Halles - Profondeurs"Profondeurs" - Here you get an idea of what remains of the famous "trou des Halles". The excavation for the complete project, including the underground train stations, was so enormous that a mock western was filmed there in what seemed a desert landscape. Only when the camera was lifted up in the last scene of the film, did the spectator realise that the location was in the heart of Paris.
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Les Halles - réflexion de St. Eustache

"St. Eustache - Déchirures"

This image is more in the style that you are used to if you have been following this blog for a while. It shows the tortuous relationship between the old gothic church and the 70's "consumer temple".

The next two images give a "straight" view of the uneasy juxtaposition of old and new architecture.

Les Halles, St. Eustache

Les Halles, St. Eustache


This photograph has been taken from inside the shopping centre. The metal arches of the shopping centre seem to mock the gothic stone arches supporting the nave of the church. The window bars “separate” the two worlds. The church is "excluded" from the modern world - or the shopper is locked into his "brave new world" – depending how you look at it. (This photograph was published in the book "Paris", sous la direction de Gilles Plazy, see above)

Les Halles - BirdsTime is counted for les Halles as we know them today. Construction work for the next version will start in 2008 (or so we hope). The pigeons sit here like vultures announcing the doom of this "architecture de pacotilles" as Francis Rambert calls it.