Hotel Fouquet Barrière / Edouard François

Architect: Edouard François
Location: Paris,
Client: Groupe Lucien Barrière, Groupe ACCOR
Structural engineers: COTEBA Ingénierie
Decorations: Jacques Garcia
Gardens: Pré Carré, Marc Vatinel
Lights and illumination: Light CIBLES, Louis Claire
Year of enchargement: 2003
Year of completion: 2006
Constructed area: 18,000 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Agence

French architect and landscape designer Edouard François was encharged of the renovation and façade design of the Fouquet’s Barrière Hotel in Paris, which is located in one block facing Avenue des Champs Elysées. The architect mission was the general plan of the whole hotel, including courtyards, administration offices and a spa service, spread on different plots of the “golden triangle”, and the design of new facades for extensions.

The surrounding area is the most elegant and expensive of the whole metropolis, and very significant in terms of architecture and relation with the context.

The project key-word and practical operation is “COPY – EDIT”. Through this operation, the building declares its belonging to the 21st century keeping strong connection with the Haussmann epoque, as a bridge between two centuries. The new façade stands on the corner of the back street, and it is showing off also in different points of the block.

The decision to reproduce the typical Haussmann façade which stands on Champs Elysées, with his characteristic windows, basement, roof and decorations, in grey concrete panels, is more significant than a simple imitation: it’s a re-interpretation of the “old” through nowadays industrial technology. The dimensions of the concrete panels are not the same as the typical stone blocks of Paris, but the composition of tones of grey remind them clearly. Beside the accuracy of the reproducing work, at first sight the façade seems to belong to that Hausmann époque: here is the “COPY” work.

At the same time, the opening of clean windows, rectangular, horizontally orientated and sharply framed, together with the closure of the “old” windows, makes clear that the façade has been softly and firmly modified by a new force. As the interior distribution does not correspond anymore to the façade levels, the new window boxes are just shown off on their proper position.

The new windows, sticking out randomly on the elevations, can be considered as the aggression of the “old” façade by the contemporary intervention, as transition from the renovated interior towards the outside.

This is the “EDIT” work.

Furthermore, new relevance is given to the old Haussmann façade, by the moment it has been re-built: new architecture seems to need a basis coming from the past as a support to propose its presence, even though that one is clearly fake. The value of this project consists in the originality of the basic operation, which opens to multiple interpretations about the relation of contemporary architecture with the past heritage.

Cite: "Hotel Fouquet Barrière / Edouard François" 13 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=24801>

43 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    very nice. i think paris needs this type of architectural gesture. herzog&demeuron’s housing complex in rue des suisses is a good exemple too.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I love the glass box window!
    It’s like a digital window to show the history complex.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s like having flatscreen tv’s on the facade. Every window has its own story. Impressive!

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    post-modern should have look like this. A very delicate “remix architecture”

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    his name is Edouard Francois,not Franchanc. It’s a very good reflexion on history. He only design the facades and a little part of the building, finaly it’s look like an addition of historical coat. very nice

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Title got a mistake, as val bollaert said it, his name’s Édouard François, also the name of the hotel is ‘Barrière’ instead of ‘Barrier’.
    It appears to be like a big shape of the precedent building. A little like Rachel Whiteheads’ work.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is a very interesting project in terms of conservation/restoration of historical buildings and sites. The architect seems to have cleverly interpreted what is allowed when intervening an historical complex, and successfully created a piece of architecture which is not a pastiche; a blatant reproduction of a historical element, and instead created an architecture, art statement, on a historical building, with historical interpretation, BUT in a contemporary way, and did so in a very ingenious form.
    Great work!

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is ghastly! Mimesis, or copy(cat), is a no-no in conservation, I’d tell my students (confer Camillo Boito.) To “edit” needs to be qualified: unthinkable if it entails an original work (confer Viollet-le-Duc’s atrocities!), tolerable if applied on a reproduction but risking to be misconstrued as a pastiche or a provocation (confer Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q.) In architecture, this “editing” needs a far greater purpose than the perpetuation of “appearances” (how terribly bourgeois!). A fine, and correct, example of “editing” is Lord Foster’s intervention on the Reichstadt. Though excessively chauvinistic when it comes to things (and architects) French, I regret the owners did not consult the one architect most indicated for this: Renzo Piano! Preuves à l’appui: the Morgan Library, NYC, entre autres…

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Guerric your students dont do that cause are no capable of mix so well the old and the new in a simple and complex way whe can comprehend like this well developed proyect… If people like it, lets do it.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    M Guerric: you fall into all kinds of misconceptions when addressing this as a conservation project. It isn’t. Camillo Boito, Viollet-le-Duc? Bringing up references to the work of these XIX century architects, regarding this building, reveals that, in spite of your seemingly academic background, you seem too keen on drawing unfounded deliberations. The work of Edouard François doesn’t relate to any of the considerations you’ve done, as it addresses the problem in a provocative fashion, the contemporaneity of which goes beyond your hundred years’ old Duchamp. In fact, in another hundred years, your critic may be regarded in the same way the academic detractions of Duchamp are regarded now…

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I dont dislike it…but it’s a bit scary to think that this can open way to all kinds refurbishment projects like this…this is the opening of the pandora box …where do we stop? imagine that all these haussman building in paris and there thousands start to be refurbished like this one…in a certain way he just leaves the “impression” of the old building…nothing more…can you imagine what would be if will took this has an example of how to reconstruct our constructed heritage? In my mind this servs too much the ego of the architect as well as the fetishe desires of the bourgois clientele who want something new and cosy but looks old and with history.

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I beg to disagree…ALL intervention in the extant built urban fabric has to do with conservation! And as such, the interaction boils down to two choices: one either attempts to establish a relationship between old and new or follow Koolhaas’s inducement of f…. the context! Given that choice, I would have preferred M. François had followed the latter advice…XIX Century architects…indeed! But whereas one exhorted the “obligation” of the new to reflect its own time—in this case XXI C—the other prompted the re-interpretative policy that has resulted in that most atrocious of “styles”—pomo! Despite the contemporaneous discourse—copy / edit, merci Microsoft—I see no difference between this particular exercise and Moore’s Piazza d’Italia (1975!) And as for Duchamp, far from being his “detractor”, I would only hope some of today’s art were as mind-boggling as his was (and is) in his time—even if it was 100 years ago!

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    M Guerric, you have my full support!

    I think this projects exemplifies very clearly how we no longer can see the difference between conservation and Disney-like-invention. If we were talking about an existing structure, in which the transformation of use calls for a new expression of the facade (like for instance the windows of the – excellent – Tate Modern in London) then I see no problem in introducing new shapes, “editing” the old with the tools of our time. But this has nothing to do with it. In this case, it is a totally new building, where the whole question of its expression, and relation to a very powerful surrounding, up to its own identity is denied, simply by coating the building with a pastiche of what we like to think of as “historical”, just like the “Main street” of Disneyland. There is no attempt to synthesize the essence of this element, or offer an abstract, or contemporary expression of it. No justification either of this model, its origins and how it was developed: Edouard Francois is simply asking us to believe him, when he says that this is the “old” and “now I shall bring you the New”.

    Paris is a very difficult city for architects to work on, because of the homogeneous aspect that has led it to be recognized worldwide for its beauty and, more importantly, for its strong identity. Furthermore, architects in France, like many other countries have put themselves (or let themselves be put) in a position of serious distrust. This situation has got so bad, that a majority of people (including those with a responsibility in town planning) seem to think that a bad copy of an old(ish) building, is anyway better than “letting one of these crazy architects destroy our beautiful city”.

    How are we ever going to reverse this tendency, and develop an architectural expression of our time, capable of relating with the classical city, without copying it or mocking it, capable of maintaining the beauty and the essence of Paris, without covering it in a thick coat of varnish and labeling it like a antic in a museum ? I think this facade, far from answering the complexity of its situation and relation to the city, just ignores the question, and in doing so Edouard Francois misses an fantastic occasion to show us what architecture is really about!

    Oh, just one more thing, for those of you inspired by this technique, Edouard Francois actually patented this principle, together with a few other similar ones… So watch out for the royalties !!! I tell you, Disney … ˚o˚

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Thank you Frederick for your support! I was despairing of all this dithyrambic if laconic praise! Since you seem to be afflicted by the state of contemporary architecture in Paris, here are two sites that may boost your spirits: http://www.citechaillot.fr/exposition/musee/expositions_du_musee.php?id=80, and http://www.legrandparis.culture.gouv.fr/
    On this last site, 9, or 10, short videos recap the different teams’ visions involved in Sarkozy’s project Le Grand Pari(s). I especially enjoyed listening to Djamel Klouche. His dicourse is a welcomed bowl of fresh air, definitely more exciting than what parades as being radical but in the end is only “du réchauffé”!

  15. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Thanks very much for those links!
    I is a little sad that this big scale research on the long term future of Paris has had so little media attention outside France, because (for once!) it was a fascinating process and looked at real long term solutions with more than just a collection of architectural(/pornographic) renderings. So to all of you out there: CHECK IT OUT.
    (Of course, beeing France, the website is in French, but If I have seen some videos with english subtitles.)

    M Guerric, what did you think of the exhibition at Chaillot? I was over in Paris soon after the opening in May, and was amazed to see the public interest (two or three hundred people waiting to get in…) but was bitterly disappointed by the actual exhibition. For those who haven’t (yet!) seen it, the curator decided to place the work of each team in a strangely proportioned white box and display them all in the “gallerie des moulage” amongst plaster moldings of Gothic cathedrals… As a result, it was impossible to actually get anywhere near the work, and like so many others, I just went home and watched the videos on the internet !!!

    Jamel Klouche was very interesting, I also very much liked the themes developed by Y. Lion and the Groupe Descartes (Stabilo sketches by David Mangin, perfect!), especially the proposal for tackling the sprawling suburbs by softening the regulations and allowing existing houses to be extended and developed, thus raising the density.

    I am sorry for all of you who are just interested in Fancy-concrete-molded-bullshit by Edouard Francois, for occupying the space of this thread to talk for a second about the wide picture. In fact maybe ArchDaily could publish some of the work of the “Grand Pari(s)”, I’m sure SOME of you might be interested. ;-)

Share your thoughts