Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ecole des Arts et Metiers

Stand in front of the main entrance to this prestigious technical school and you will see a classical stone structure, but if you wander around the perimeter of the site you will discover more mysterious buildings where brick dominates. It should be easy to guess which aspects of this structure grabbed my attention!

The Ecole des Arts et Metiers turns students into engineers, and it is particularly on this site that they gain hands on experience with practical work. In essence it is a working building, a factory that churns out engineers on its production line. They arrive in their final year of acadamia through the clean white walls of the entrance, but leave via the brick walls at the rear on thier way to their first professional assignments.

This contrast between the front and rear is striking. Although the major decorative elements were concentrated on the main facade, the rest of the building is not without touches of elegance. Workshops to the rear feature large cathederal windows, brick arches and iron and glass roofing whilst lines of bricks in fire-warm shades run the length of the site to one side. Frustratingly though, high iron fences and security guards prevented me from investigating the site in any greater detail.

Address: Boulevard de l'Hopital, Rue Pinel, Avenue Stephen Pichon, 75013
Architect: Georges Roussi
Year of construction: 1912

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