28.4.10

PCF

PCF may stand for “Place Colonel Fabien”, and also for the “Parti Communiste Français”, the French Communist Party. It happens so that the party’s headquarters are situated at the “Place Colonel Fabien”.

Colonel Fabien was a member of the French Communist Party, a volunteer for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War and a resistant during WW II. (He made one of the first resistant acts, killing a German naval officer in the Paris metro. He was himself killed at the end of the war in December 1944.) He gave the name to the Place in 1945.

The French Communist Party, founded in 1920, played an important role in the French political life the years before WW II and especially the years after, when they reached close to 30% of the parliament seats. In the latest elections they reached about 4% and in the presidential elections their representative reached a small 2%.

This post is rather meant to treat with the building which houses the party. The building is designed on a voluntary basis, by Oscar Niemeyer, the today 102 years old Brazilian architect, particularly famous for what he created at Brasilia and also for other remarkable buildings in Brazil, but also abroad, including a major participation, together with Le Corbusier and others, in the UN building in NYC.

In 1980, the party could move in. Some of Niemeyer’s original drawings can be seen on a wall.

In addition to the remarkable “coupole” (see also top picture), where all larger meetings are held, there are a number of meeting rooms etc. on the ground floors. There is also space for temporary exhibitions.

Luckily, when I arrived, there was also a group of architecture students from the Columbia University and I could join. You can see them listening to a speech in the “coupole” and drawing on the roof.

From the roof, you have a nice view of Paris. You may see how Niemeyer managed to make the concrete structure follow the horizontal line.

Another detail, which is worth noticing, is Niemeyer’s wish to make a reference to Picasso’s famous “palomas” – you may have a closer look on the Google Earth picture.

This is again a pre-programmed post. I'm off for a couple of days.

23 comments:

Thérèse said...

Une stucture superbe mais froide à mon humble avis. Mais quelles lignes courbes sublimes partout où Niemeyer laisse son empreinte architecturale!

James said...

That is a unique and interesting structure. It has a pretty nice view too.

V Rakesh said...

Very interesting place, with some unique displays!

Owen said...

Between les Buttes Chaumont and le Canal Saint Martin... excellent location ! And what alot of history there... no doubt alot of juicy spy stories connected to it... many we'll probably never hear of...

Olivier said...

cela représente toute une époque politique de la France, et puis aussi la déchéance du PC. C'est un immeuble magnifique, je suis jamais rentre dedans, merci pour la visite

Jilly said...

What an extraordinary building. That first photo is amazing, Peter.

Lovely to see you looking so dapper (as always!) on Owen's lovely blog.

SusuPetal said...

What an interesting building with smooth lines.

claude said...

Ils ont des sous au PC !

hpy said...

Merci Claude pour ton commentaire!

Nathalie said...

Claude - ils avaient !
Je me demandais justement comment ils allaient faire pour continuer à financer tout ça maintenant. Sous-louer?

Nathalie said...

Peter, tu as vraiment la chance accrochée au revers de ton veston - tomber sur une visite guidée d'étudiants en architecture juste quand tu arrives, c'est épatant !

Merci pour les photos et toute l'histoire, c'est vraiment passionnant.

Bon séjour ailleurs, et reviens-nous en forme !

Cezar and Léia said...

wow you wrote about Oscar Niemeyer!C'est magnifique!
Lucky you, I would love to be there and also join those architecture students for this visit!
Wonderful post!
Hugs
Léia :)

JPD said...

In actual facts, since the end of USSR, they are not rich anymore... I've heard they sub-rent a couple of floors to private companies (you know, the kapitalismmmm lol). And the "coupole" is also rented for special occasions: last year, there was a fashion show...

Michelle said...

What an interesting building! You really capture some great photos.

BLOGitse said...

Interesting indeed...but I don't like this kind of...scary places!
Great pics though!

BLOGitse

Starman said...

We walked along the Canal St. Martin to Place Colonel Fabien where we caught a bus to Nation.

Adam said...

I've been in a few times for the Journées du Patrimoine, but it looks like you got really lucky there! It is a fascinating building inside, but I'm still curious about the other parts we never get to visit!

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

Hope you're keeping fine.
Photos on this blog really impressed my. Time to visit Paris again.
Keep in touch my dear friend.

Pink Ginger.

Simony said...

How interesting to find out about another project by Niemeyer. It sure looks like the work he has done in Brazil. I didn't know he was that old! I remember him from a speech he gave at our university when I was a student. You took me back some 20 years ago!

Trotter said...

Great shots!!

catherine said...

Qeul magnifique endroit ! j'ai éuc pas loin et je n'ai jamais eu le temps de le visiter. en fait ton blog me fait regretter Paris...

Catherine said...

On y reçois peut être maintenant plus de visiteurs curieux d'architecture que de sympathisants.

Marie-Noyale said...

Tes posts sont vraiment parfaits!
tu penses meme au petit detail sur Google Earth!!!
Tu penses a tout!!