Architecture Misfit #29: Fernand Pouillon

fernand-pouillon

Fernand Pouillon
1912 ‚Äď 1986

1912
Born May 14, in Cancon, France.

ūüéā

1934
Palais Albert 1er, (30 apartments, 2 commercial units), avenue Albert 1er, Aix-en-Provence, France, in collaboration with Henri Enjouvin.

Pouillon was 22.

1935
Palais Victor Hugo (28 apartments), avenue Victor Hugo, Aix-en-Provence, France

1936
Groupe Corderie 25 (40 apartments), 27 avenue de la Corse, Marseille, France

The fernandpouillon.com website lists the creation or extension of “co-operative cells” [caves coop√®ratives”]¬†around this time, in the towns of Rosi√®res, Lussas, Vinezac, Vogue, Lablach√®re, Senas, Graveson, Maillane, Eygali√®res, Mallemort, Saint-Andiol,¬†Ch√Ęteauneuf de Gadagne, Le Thor, La Tour d’Aygues, and Sablet. All were formed in¬†association with Pouillon’s former mentor Henri Enjouvin. I imagine these to be something like¬†architects of record on-call, and with some fee arrangement already in place for fast turnaround. It would have to be because, as you will see, the amount of work attributed to Pouillon is phenomenal. Pouillon was beyond¬†prolific, he¬†had a compulsion to design buildings and get them built.

1938
Mondovi Building (18 apartments), rue de Mondovi, Marseille, France


Villa for Doctor Bernard, quartier Saint-Julien Villa de M. Magallon, avenue Flotte, Marseille, France
Villa for M. Teissier, quartier Saint-Barnabé Villa de M. Terracole, au Roucas Blanc, Marseille, France
Villa for M. Falconetti, Cabriès, France

1939
Group¬†“R√©sidence” quai de Rive-Neuve (36 apartments),¬†Marseille, France

1940
A group of 70 apartments, Avignon, France

1942 was the end of Vichy Government rule in Algeria and the end of¬†Le Corbusier’s speculative Plan Obus for Algiers. It was also the year Pouillon, now 30, became a registered architect. It had not been necessary to be one in order to build in

1943
Restoration of private mansion of M. Columeau, bd du Redon Immeuble 38 rue Longue des Capucins, Marseille, France

1944 was the liberation of France and the dissolution of the Vichy government.

1945
“Dames de France”, transformation of a store into offices for the American base
Grand Arénas, provisional accommodation for prisoners, deportees and refugees
Gendarmerie Augusto, Marseille, France

1946
The Regional Center for Physical Education and Sport, CREPS, chemin du Guiraudet Gardanne, Aix-en-Provence, France
Casablanca Garden City in Biver, 21 dwellings, Aix-en-Provence, France

1947
Deux √©coles d√©clar√©es dans les “M√©moires d’un architecte”,¬†Aix-en-Provence, France
Hotel in Cap Manuel, Dakar, Senegal
Stade municipal, avenue des Ecoles Militaires, Aix-en-Provence, France

Pouillon’s¬†1947 Aix-en-Provence City Stadium¬†is often presented as the project in which his¬†personal “style” began to emerge¬†but (in perfect illustration of how words convert buildings into architecture) this¬†turns out to be nothing more than perfectly normal things¬†that everybody should be doing, like updating traditional construction processes and using several different materials so each does what they do¬†best.

stadium 1946-50.jpeg

1948
Nestlé Factory, chocolate and soluble coffee factory, offices, common services and employee housing, Saint-Menet, France
Restoration of the Villa of Doctor Latil, Aix-en-Provence, France
Station sanitaire maritime, Avenue Vaudoyer, Marseille, France

0008

1949
Police Building, 2 rue Antoine Becker, Marseille, France
Canebière Building, boulevard de la Canebière, apartments, offices, retail units, Marseille, France
La Tourette, Protis Square, 260 dwellings, shops garages, Marseille, France 

The civic projects increased in scale and importance, leading to the¬†1948-1953 La Tourette housing complex in Marseille, just behind¬†the Old Port.¬†There’s a glowing description of La Tourette¬†here, along¬†with¬†many fine photographs of it.

With La Tourette project, Pouillon refined his¬†system of co-ordinating all the elements of a project ‚Äď a system that came to be known as The Pouillon System.¬†Details are sketchy, but it¬†included artists and craftsmen such as cabinetmakers, locksmiths and stonecutters and the invention/use¬†of construction processes intended to reduce the cost of material and labour.¬†One of these was pierre banch√©e in which stone tiles are used¬†as permanent shuttering.

LE+GENIE+DE+POUILLON+-+ECONOMIE+ET+QUALITE

Other innovations included a method of providing better soundproofing between apartments. A legend to the section above might be able to tell us more about this. In 1955, Pouillon created the CNL, the Comptoir National du Logement, which was a commercial and legal structure that would allow him to design thousands of housing units in Paris and to build them as a developer.

1950
Reconstruction of the Sablettes, seaside resort, 150 apartments, shops, a hotel, La Seyne-sur-Mer, France
Carrières de Fontvieille, La Seyne-sur-Mer, France
Offices, Garden Dwellings, Atelier, La Seyne-sur-Mer, France
Atelier for the painter, Marchutz, Aix-en-Provence, France
Villa for the mayor of d’Aix-en-Provence, Henri Mouret, Aix-en-Provence, France
H√ītel d’Espagnet, Cours Mirabeau, Headquarters of the University Rectorate plus official housing, Aix-en-Provence, France
Restoration of a listed monument, Aix-en-Provence, France
Saint-Charles University Library, Marseille, France
Library of the Faculty of Sciences, Centre for Administrative Studies, Marseille, France

1951
Building rue Méry, Reconstruction of the Vieux-Port quarter, housing, shops and bars, Marseille, France
Outer areas of the Old Port district, monument surroundings, roads and public spaces, Marseille, France
Shopping Cart District Urban Redevelopment, Marseille, France
Two hundred apartments, 1-6 room apartments for rent, Aix-en-Provence, France
Reconstruction of the Old Port, seafront 1200 m, 350 apartments and shops, Marseille, France

1952
Faculty of Law, resumption of the works for completion of University Library, Aix-en-Provence, France

Villa La Brillanne, residence of the family of Fernand Pouillon, Aix-en-Provence, France
Lycée Colbert, commercial and industrial learning center, Marseille, France

1953
Atelier for the painter André Masson, Aix-en-Provence, France

Administrative City, architectural and urban development program, Avignon, France
Terminal, offices, technical block, control tower, Cassis, Marignane, France
Villa Barthélemy and Villa X., seafront villas, Algiers, Algeria
Diar El Mahçoul, 1800 apartments, Algiers, Algeria

This last was Pouillon’s first project in Algeirs and the project he was invited there for. The hillside site required 100,000 of terracing and huge retaining walls. A main road divided the French side and Algerian side. Two thirds of the 1,454 housing units were on the French side of the road with views of the sea (and huge retaining walls).

The other third were on the Algerian side facing the valley and had small courtyards. We may think this discriminatory but we forget that “view” is a cultural invention (whereas houses in a Mediterranean fishing village, for example, might have a view of the sea for reasons connected with weather and fish). Another such difference showed in sanitation facilities and, again, we can’t say if this is cultural prejudice or cultural preference.

1953 (cont’d)
Diar Es Saada, 800 lodgings, Algiers, Algeria

Villa des Arcades, restaurant, and development of a swimming pool, residence and agency of F. Alger, Algerie
Residential building, regularization of the extension of the course Jean Jaurès in front of the administrative city, Avignon, France

1954
Diar El Mahçoul, Saint-Jean-Baptiste church Climat of France, 3500 dwellings, Algiers, Algiers

Pouillon’s 1954-1957 Climat de France project for Algiers has a touch of what two decades later would be called Post-Modern Classicism. We look at it and see Rossi, unfairly.

The Mayor of Algiers believed a properly housed population made for a happy population and Pouillon obliged by combining the social aspirations of Modernism giving residents something larger to feel a part of, and the proto Post-Modern idea of giving residents something grander to live up to.

Diar Es Saada, girls ‘and boys’ schools, Algiers, Algierie
El Karma, Valmy (near Oran), Agierie
City of 800 houses, Algiers, Algierie
Cité Lescure, Designed for a colleague, Oran, Algiers
Military city for 8000 inhabitants, Magharé, Iran
Military city for 8000 inhabitants, Shahabad, Iran
Iranian Empire Headquarters, Tehran, Iran
Geographical Institute, Tehran, Iran
Railway station, Machad, Iran

This was a project in collaboration with the Iranian architect,¬†Heydar Ghia√Į-Chamlou.

Railway station, Tabriz, Iran

As was this.

1955
Cité universitaire les Gazelles, 564 avenue Gaston Berger, 500 beds, Aix-en-Provence, France

La Montagnette social housing, rue Maurice Barrès, Vignon, France
Cité La Croix des Oiseaux, about 800 social housing units with much prefabrication, rue de la Croix des Oiseaux, Avignon, France
Villa for Admiral Jubelin, Sanary, France

1956
Development of the Old Port district, partially completed. Reconstruction of several Old Port buildings, reconstruction, Bastia, France

1957
Charzola Building, 58 rue Emile Zola, 93 dwellings, Paris, France

47 avenue de Friedland, apartment for Fernand Pouillon, Paris, France
Victor Hugo Residences, avenue Jean Lolive, 282 apartments and retail units, Pantin, France

Chalet, Val d’Isere, France
Municipal stadium, rue des Ecoles Militaires, awning above the stands (destroyed in the eighties), Aix-en-Provence, France
Résidence le Parc, 2,635 lodgings, shopping centers, Meudon-la-Forêt, France

Pouillon and the CNL’s first major successes were apartment developments of three hundred units in Pantin (1957) and five hundred units in Montrouge (1958). Despite the stone and marbile finishes, the apartments were affordable on a 25-year plan.

1958
Private apartment, Boulevard Suchet, Paris, France
Le Point du Jour, 2260 logements et équipements, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Peugeot-quai de Passy, projet d’extension du Point du Jour, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Résidence du Stade Buffalo, 466 logements et commerces, Montrouge, France

1959
H√ītel des Ursins, √ģle de la Cit√©, r√©sidence de F. Pouillon Appartement de M. Junot I√©na, Paris, France
Résidence Jules Ferry, 60 logements et garages au rez-de-chaussée, Montrouge, France
Résidence le Parc, 2,635 lodgings, shopping centers, Meudon-la-Forêt, France

Pouillon was to make himself many enemies when the 2,635 apartments of the Résidence du Parc in Meudon-la-Forêt (1959) came online at less than market prices.

1960
Résidence du Quai, 135 apartments and shopping mall, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
H√ītel-restaurant Baumani√®re, la Cabro d’Or, Les Baux de Provence, France

1961
Hotel, Puerto-Rico

Pouillon’s unorthodox corporate arrangements encouraged financial impropriety and the CNL was unable to pay its contractors in 1959 and was wound up in 1961 and Pouillon charged, arrested, de-registered and jailed. Eighteen months later he escaped but ten months later gave himself up, only to be sentenced to another four years. This was later reduced to three and he was released in February 1964. Charges of breaching the laws of¬†companies, of breaches of trust, fraud and concealment were dismissed but charges of the abuse of social assets, false declaration of release of shares and false notarial declaration remained. During his imprisonment, we was to write Les Pierres Sauvages published in 1964, and Memoirs of an Architect, published 1968.

1962
Domaine de Lanruen (detached houses), partially realized, construction site not monitored, Erquy, France

1964
Masterplan for the new town of Créteil, Créteil, France
La Vallée Moussue, restoration of a house, Saint-Léger-en-Yvelines, France.

1965
H√ītel du Port, for the company¬†Bancaire, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France

 

The masterplan was to be Pouillon’s first major job after jail and, perhaps because of this, he received death threats urging him not to work in France. Jacques Chevallier suggested Pouiloon return to Algeria and he did.¬†For the next twenty years Pouillon was to design hotels to improve the tourism infrastructure of Algeria, as well as many¬†civic and educational buildings. His greatest¬†regret was being¬†being asked to design mass housing again, either in France or in Algeria.

1966
Algerian coastal tourism development plan (partially realized), Algiers, Algeria
Villa des Arcades, restoration and extension, Algiers, Algeria
Diar El Mahçoul, transformation of the church into a mosque, Algiers, Algeria
Hotel Le Ca√ģd, 400 beds, Bou Saada, Algeria
Hotel Marhaba, 300 beds, Laghouat, Algeria
Hotel El Minzah, 300 beds, Moretti, Algeria
Spa and hotel with 200 beds, Saida, Algeria

1967
Pavillon de la Foire d’Alger
, Algiers, Algeria
The Calle (El Kala), Algiers, Algeria
Hotel El Manar, 300 beds, Algiers, Algeria
Tourist complex, 3,000 beds, Moretti, Algeria
Hotel El Mountazah (Ksar du Rocher), 300 beds, Sera√Įdi, Algeria
Tourist complex, 4,000 beds, Zeralda, Algeria

1968
Restaurant “Maxim’s, air conditioning and facilities, Paris, France
Caravanserai of 150 beds, Ain Sefr, Algeria
Hotel Plaza, 500 beds, Annaba, Algeria
Caravanserai the Rym, 150 beds, Beni-Abbes, Algeria
Hotel with 300 beds, Biskra, Algeria
Hotel school for 1,600 students, Biskra, Algeria
Caravanserai El Boustan, 200 beds Saharan dwellings (detached houses), Biskra, Algeria
Saharan homes (detached houses), Biskra, Algeria
New market and renovation of old market, cinema, theater, 15,000 m2, Biskra, Algeria
Abattoirs, Biskra, Gharda√Įa, Algerie
Saharan homes (detached houses), Laghouat, Algeria
Caravanserai El Mehri, 200 beds, Ouargla, Algeria
Prefecture of the Oasis and Administrative City, 15 000 m2 Saharan dwellings (detached houses), Ouargla, Algeria
Tourist complex, 4,000 beds El Riadh Hotel, Sidi Ferruch, Algeria


Tourist complex, shopping center H√ītel les Hammadites, 350 beds, Tichy, Algerie
Caravanserai El Gourara, 150 beds, Timimoun, Algeria


Tourist complex, 2,000 beds, Tipasa Beach, Algeria


Tourist complex, 2,500 beds Arrangement of the harbor, village and barbecue, Tipasa Club, Algeria
Slaughterhouses, Touggourt, Algerie
Caravanserai L’Oasis, 200 beds, Touggourt, Algeria
Saharan homes (detached houses), Touggourt, Algeria
Hotel Les Sables d’Or, 600 beds, Zeralda, Algeria
Hotel with 300 beds, Tamanrasset, Algeria

1969
Prototype “metal house” at the edge of J. Chevallier
, El Ançor, Algeria
Andalusian tourist complex of 2,000 beds, Algiers, Algeria
Hotel with 600 beds, Tipasa Matarès, Algeria
Hotel school for 1600 students, Tizi Ouzou, Algeria

1970
La Breche aux Loups
, 444 detached houses, commercialization, Ozoir-la-Ferrière, France
27 post offices, sorting centers and telephone exchanges, 50,000 m2 realized since, Algeria
Hotel M’Zab (ex-Rost√©mides), 600 beds, Gharda√Įa, Algerie


Several “metallic” houses, Ghazaouate, Algeria
Hotel Les Zianides, 300 beds, Tlemcem, Algeria
43 Villas from 1970 to 1984 in Algiers, Bir Mourad Ra√Įs, Blida, Bouzareah, Draria (Algiers), El Achour, El Biar, Algiers, Kouba, Larbaa, Sahaoula, Sidi A√Įch, Sidi Mohammed, Yakouren

1971
Furnishing of an apartment, place des Vosges
, Paris, France
Theater for 3,600, Sidi Ferruch (surroundings of Algiers), Algeria
Tipaza Club (Algiers area), Algeria
Tourist complex, extension and horse-riding center, (Algiers area), Algeria
Tipasa Matarès (near Algiers), Algeria
Tourist complex, extension, (Algiers area), Algeria
Hotel les Hammadites, extension, Tichy, Algeria
Caravanserai El Gourara, extension, Timimoun, Algeria

1972
Tourist complex, extension, Moretti, Algeria
Village artisanal Plage Ouest: 150 shops and workshops, Sidi Ferruch, Algerie
Resort complex, extension Hotel Mazafran, Zeralda, Algeria
Hotel with 300 beds, Saida, Algeria
Thermal Spa, Hammam Rabbi (Sa√Įda), Algeria
City of 200 apartments, Staoueli (near Algiers), Algeria
Villa des Arcades, transformation of stables into living room and dining room, El Madania, Algiers, Algeria
Technical Unit of SONATOUR, Algiers, Algeria

1973
Prototype “metallic” house, on the property of the president of the PUM (Products of Metallurgical Factories), Sologne, France
Caravanserai The Rym, extension, Beni-Abbes, Algeria
Caravanserai El Mehri, extension, Ouargla, Algeria

1974
Furnishings for a small manor, Chennevières / Marne, France
House of M and Mme V., Gueux, France
Five “metallic” houses, Jonchery / Vesle, France
House-witness of the concept “HOME” (metal house), Val-de-Vesle-Thuisy, France
A “metallic” house, Saint-Brice-Courcelles, France
Residence Lion d’Or, place Drouet d’Erlon, housing, cinema, shopping mall, Reims, France
Galerie du Jardin de Flore, 24 place des Vosges, creation of a flower shop in art gallery, for the publishing company created by Fernand Pouillon, Paris, France
Apartment rue des Fontaines, Algiers, Algeria
Cabaret Dar El Alia, Bouzareah (Algiers), Algeria
Housing development of “metallic” houses, Cheraga, Algeria
Caravanserai El Boustan, extension, El Golea, Algeria
Caravanserai, extension, El Oued, Algeria
Hotel El Djanoub, 600 beds, Gharda√Įa, Algeria
Villa Paradou for the Ministry of Higher Education, Hydra (Algiers), Algeria
Expansion and development of the port, 200 ships of 10 m, La Madrague (near Algiers), Algeria
Development of the port, 400 boats, Sidi Ferruch (Algiers area), Algeria
West Beach Hotel, Sidi Ferruch (surroundings of Algiers), Algeria
West Beach second hotel, in all 1500 beds, West Beach Civic Center of Animation, Sidi Ferruch (surroundings of Algiers), Algeria
Harbor development, 200 boats of 10 meters Hotel with 152 rooms, Skikda, Algeria

1975
Restoration of a house, Peyrusse-le-Roc, France
Offices of Technal International, Toulouse, France
Cité Universitaire for Young Girls, Ben Aknoun, Algeria
Horse-riding center, multi-purpose hall, Tipaza, Algeria
Shopping and leisure center, Tipaza Plage, Algeria
Amraoua Hotel, Tizi Ouzou, Algeria
Tourist complex, extension, multi-purpose hall and facilities, Zeralda, Algeria
Wilaya (prefecture), landscaping, Tlemcem, Albgerie
Ch√Ęteau de Belcastel, restoration (from 1975 to 1983), Belcastel, France

Belcastel1

1976
Monastery for the sisters of Médéa
(Algeria) repatriated to Provence, Cotignac, France
Hotel Plaza, Annaba, Algeria

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Hotel Aurassi, furnishing and decoration, Oued Koreiche (Alger), Algeria
Villa Marguerite, Tlemcem, Algeria

1977
Aménagement du port et extension du centre ville, Saint-Tropez, France
H√ītel, Djemila, Algerie
Cité universitaire, Oran, Algerie

1977-1980
Port development and extension of the city center, Saint-Tropez, France
Hotel, Djemila, Algeria
Cité universitaire, Oran, Algeria

1978
Villas Rochmeboisson
, Ain Benian (Algiers), Algeria
Villa Citro√ęn, Algiers, Algeria
University campus, extension, Ben Aknoun (Algiers), Algeria
Hotel, 600-bed hotel, Constantine, Algeria
Wilaya (prefecture), two projects, Tlemcem, Algeria
Wilaya (prefecture), 3rd project, Tlemcem, Algeria

1979
Cité Universitaire, Ain El Bey (Constantine), Algerie

1979-1982
Cité Universitaire, Ain El Bey (Constantine), Algerie
400 dwellings, Sétif, Algerie
Cité Universitaire for 3,000, Alger, Algerie
Cité Universitaire for 5,000, Bab Ezzouar (Alger), Algerie
Cité Universitaire for 2,000, Batna, Algerie
Cité Universitaire for 2,500, Constantine, Algerie
Cité Universitaire for 2,000, Mostaganem, Algerie
Cité Universitaire for 2,000, Oran, Algerie
Cité Universitaire for 2,000, Sidi Bel Abbès, Algerie

1980
House F, Belcastel, France
Map of the new town, competition, Saint-Quentin-en-Yveline, France
City of 400 dwellings, Boufarik, Algeria
Bus station 40,000 m2, Constantine, Algeria
Spa, extension, Hammam Rabbi (Sa√Įda), Algeria
Post Office, Touggourt, Algerie

1981
Hotel El Djaza√Įr
(formerly Saint-Georges), resumption and continuation of works, Algiers, Algeria

1982
House extension project, Eschentzwiller, France
Hotel El Djaza√Įr (ex Saint-Georges), extension, Algiers, Algeria
City of 400 dwellings, Blida, Algeria
Boulevard belt interior, layout plan, Sidi Bel Abbès, Algerie

The Hotel El-Djaza√Įr was completed in record time to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of Algerian independence but the government never paid the fees, causing Pouillon to default on, in turn, social security contributions, taxes, and then wages. Pouillon abandoned Algeria and returned to France where he¬†was reinstated¬†to the¬†Order of Architects but the tax debt of the CNL was still outstanding. President Mitterrand forgave Pouillon the¬†CNL debt and made him¬†an¬†Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1984.

1984
Computing Center for the Ministry of Culture
, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France

1985
Thirty detached houses on an air base
, Avord, France
Masterplan for 4,000 housing units, Créteil, France
Europarc activity zone plan, two buildings realized in collaboration with Schott firm), Créteil, France
Music Conservatory, rue Armand Carrel, 19th arrondissement
Social housing 172 avenue Jean-Jaurès, 19th arrondissement
Apartment rue de Bièvre, development and extension, 5th arrondissement
Apartment rue Boissy d’Anglas, development and extension, 8th arrondissement

Undated
Development of an abbey
in a secondary residence, Belhomert-Guehouville, Algerie
Building for SNECMA, Corbeil, France
A swimming pool in the rock by the sea for M and Mme B., Normandy, France
Avenue Montaigne, private apartment, Paris, France
Georges V, Georges V Avenue, after 1970 Private apartment, rue Surcouf, Paris, France
Restoration of
Manoir du Jonchet, Romilly / Aigre, France
Studies for an unidentified program, Monaco, France
Villas “Les Jardins Exotiques”, Monte-Carlo, France
Maxim’s Restaurant, Montreal, Canada
Maxim’s Restaurant, after 1965, Tokyo, Japan
Apartment rue Didouche Mourad, Algiers, Algeria
Hotel, Biskra, Algeria
New Hotel, 600 beds, Constantine, France
Hotel, 150 rooms, Djanet, Algeria
Bordj of the Chevalier family, extension, El Biar (Algiers), Algeria
Caravanserai, Hotel du Souf, El Oued, Algeria
Hotel El Mordjane, La Calle (El Kala), Algeria
Apartment hotel of 1,000 beds, La Calle (El Kala), Algeria
Depot garage, communal Market Cinema Theater, Laghouat, France
Caravanserai, Madakh, Algeria
Villas, Sahaoula, Algeria
La Grande Plage Resort (Sidi Begra), Sera√Įdi, Algeria
Hotel du Port, Sera√Įdi, Algeria
Hotel El Marsa Olympic Swimming Pool Quartier du Corsaire Restaurant, Sera√Įdi, Algeria

Sidi Fredj / Sidi-Ferruch – Alger wilaya – Algeria / Alg√ąrie: Hotel El Marsa and Hotel El Manar | H√ôtels El Marsa et El Manar – photo by M.Torres

Holiday village, Sidi Okba Oumache, Skikda A√Įn Ben Noui, Algeria
Complex: theater, bungalows, restaurant, port, Tipaza La Corne d’Or, Algeria
Hotel Esmeralda, Tipaza Plage, Algeria
Cité Universitaire, Tlemcem, Algeria
Complex of Courbet Marine, Zemmouri, Algeria
Administrative Center One Hotel, Zeralda, Algeria
Hotel La Residence, Zeralda, Algeria
Villas in Ain El Hammam, Ain Taya, Draa Esmar, El Biar (Algiers), In Nadjah, Hydra (Algiers), Kraicia

Unrealized
Additionally, there are approx. 800 unrealized projects in France alone.

prolific!

‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ

Seven possible reasons why Fernand Pouillon is not better remembered than he is.

  1. His main period of activity as an architect was¬†over the period 1932‚Äď1961 ‚Äď a period corresponding to the heyday of Le Corbusier. Perhaps the world of architecture didn’t need another architect from France when they already had someone contributing so much¬†to the mythology of architecture and architects.
  2. Reconstruction and rehabilitation¬†are both good things but both only¬†restore and improve upon what was already present. They¬†don’t add to the mythology of¬†architecture in such a way as did Le Corbusier’s Unit√© d’Habitations that put Marseille on the map.¬†
  3. Or perhaps¬†the world of architecture did not need anything else from Algeria, since¬†it already had¬†Le Corbusier’s Plan Obus which is vastly over-remembered, especially when compared with his¬†earlier proposal for Algiers.LC1
  4. The period 1956‚Äď1961 when the Algerian Uprising was changing into¬†the Algerian War and Pouillon, like Chevalier, would have deen (rightly) suspected of having Algerian separatist sympathies. This period coincides with the time¬†people would¬†have been¬†collecting evidence against Pouillon and making a case for his imprisonment.
  5. Not only that, Pouillon¬†was a member of the communist party until about¬†1943. After that, he would have been remembered as having been a member of the communist party until about¬†1943. The period 1947‚Äď1956 coincided with United States’ doctrine of¬†McCarthyism¬†that persecuted persons suspected of being either communists or of having communist sympathies. Fernand Pouillon may thus have suffered the same fate as¬†Hannes Meyer, Karel Teige¬†and Andr√© Lur√ßat.¬†Architecture prefers fascist governments and their rallying¬†monuments to¬†communist ones and their dreary obsession with mass housing.
  6. Pouillon was never stylistically experimental for the sake of it. If Brutalism had had construction advantages we would no doubt see more Pouillon buildings in concrete. He experimented with metallic housing and prefabrication in the seventies, long after it had been fashionable. His career also overlapped Post Modernism but he had no need for semiotics beyond indicating home and neighbourhood by conventional means. His sensibility towards reconstruction and restoration was also off-trend.
  7. Pouillon is responsible for the design of an enormous number¬†of buildings, many of which are regarded as fine or outstanding. The sheer volume¬†of his output shows he was extremely skilled at promoting his services but that he is not remembered has a lot to do with him being more interested in building than in designing¬†his mythology ‚Äď a trait he shares with many¬†of the other misfit architects.

‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ

fernand-pouillon

Fernand Pouillon!

Your service to the community began long before your imprisonment
and continued long after.

misfits salutes you!

‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ

  • www.fernandpouillon.com is the most comprehensive resource there is. I’m indebted.
  • http://publishing.cdlib.org¬†a substantial website on post-war housing in Algeria
  • http://www.jeanlucmichel.com is a blog (in French) with a fine collection of images of many otherwise unphotographed Fernand Pouillon buildings. The¬†photographs are more photo-journalism¬†than architectural photography and make you feel as if you had been¬†there walking around looking at the buildings and taken¬†the photographs¬†yourself. The¬†unstaged photographs are¬†real and, because of that, informative and, because of that, refreshing.
  • http://www.bdonline.co.uk¬†links to article about La Tourette inspiring the UK architect Adam Khan
  • Adam Caruso and Helen Thomas (Hg.): The Stones of Fernand Pouillon ‚Äď An Alternative Modernism in French Architecture. gta Verlag, Z√ľrich 2013, ISBN 978-3-85676-324-4.

¬†‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ

Pouillon’s¬†infamous¬†system for coordinating all construction¬†activity may have had its flaws but it did produce high quality and affordable housing that, seventy years on, has aged well, is not dated, and is still eminently liveable.¬†A system that could produce results of such high quality under budget and in record time goes¬†is not a system geared towards stakeholders systematically milking¬†the budget by inflating or falsifying invoices. It defies¬†conventional thinking.

Exactly how Pouillon brought the 2,635 apartments of the 1959 Résidence du Parc in Meudon-la-Forêt (1959) online in record time and at less than market prices remains a mystery no-one seems to want to see solved.

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6 thoughts on “Architecture Misfit #29: Fernand Pouillon

  1. Farid Ziani

    Pouillon is still widely admired in Algeria nowadays and his projects serve as references in architecture schools around the country. I have personally disliked him for a while because of his “architectonic” interpretation of local architecture instead of a “systematic” one. the best example might perhaps be Hotel Gourara in the south where he literally sticks half cut palm trees in the ceiling, purely decorative, imitating of a very structural element, though we might thing the palm tree has a structural role, it doesn’t, worst it even is held by the concrete structure.
    about his project of Diar el Mahcol, and Diar Saada, The governor of Algiers Jacques Chevallier proposed a different location in the beginning, but Pouillon who was visiting Algiers for the first time with Chevallier have noticed the Hill side where there stood only a historical summer palace and asked if he can build the housing units there, got that, and got the palace/villa as his private residence !!

    Reply
    1. Graham McKay Post author

      That’s all interesting news Farid! I’d begun to get suspicious of how inconsistently Pouillon’s projects are represented. Some are over-represented whereas there is little or no information on some of the huge later ones. Some of the smaller, later hotels seem a bit too “sweet” which is consistent with what you say about his interpretation of local architecture. I’m sure some more stories will surface but in the meantime, thanks for the balance.

      Reply
  2. victorperunkov

    Having grit and courage to tussle in the power tier – that is real estate development, indeed is venerable. Another reason for his obscurity must be few people were comfortable with how he made them appear subservient and sheeple. Pouillon’s inclusion into the roster of misfits freshens up the “badman” reading of that word – instead of one that suggests a shut-in autist.

    Reply
    1. Graham McKay Post author

      True, and yes ‚Ästhe’s a welcome addition. Another reason I just thought of is that he was comfortable designing buildings to be either built or clad with stone ‚Ästthat old fashioned material people still knew how to use back then. He wasn’t interested in representing an unsuitable modernity. I’m still finding images of hotels to add to the post ‚Ästthere’s still a lot of buildings out there. The post is just a tiny selection but we’ll probably have to be satisfied with just letting more people know he lived and did good a huge amount of good stuff.

      Reply

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