This a quiet and in many ways unexceptional part of the 16th arrondissement but which is made up of a number of streets that together provide an overview of Parisian domestic architecture over the past 150 years. Its turn-of-the century town houses, its up-market early 20th century villas as well as ground-breaking work of Le Corbusier, Mallet-Stevens and other 1920s architects.
There are also some apartment blocks which mushroomed in the 60s and 70s and which are in somewhat better taste than their suburban counterparts.
(click on the pics to enlarge)
First are the town houses in the rue de l'Yvette and then the more
modest-looking twinned frontages in rue Henri Heine which however have small
gardens at the rear (visible from the square du Docteur Blanche).
There are also Haussmann-style buildings by Jean-Marie Boussard (the
Baron would surely have disapproved of the use of polished brick or
Italian-style loggias): 76 & 78 avenue Mozart leading back to the rue de l'Yvette and rue
de la Cure, 4 & 6 rue Jasmin and a little further on 41, 42 & 45 rue Ribera as
well as 5 rue Dangeau. This architect had a taste for caryatids:
carvings and terracotta:
ornate entrance halls:
and pale blue glazed bricks which were used on five of the eight
buildings he built in the area (but also for the main Paris telephone exchange
rue du Louvre):
At 4 rue de la Cure, on the side wall have a look at the stained glass in
the bow-window which must give the interior a hot-house feel.
Lastly comes the telephone exchange at 21 rue Jasmin built in 1913 by the
architect Paul Guadet in a style more redolent of the 20s than its actual period.
It's worth taking the time to pick out the patterns in ceramic set into the
façade and around the door.
Far less daring than his early works and the Castel Béranger, in 1922 Hector Guimard built a small town house at 3 square Jasmin and a
building so well-behaved that it's almost invisible 18 rue Henri Heine but with a
noticeably plain entrance hall.
With its white and stark-naked concrete façades, interplay of lines, large
windows (often wider than they are tall, a real novelty) and terraced roofs,
much of the old style was ditched.
Pierre Patout who was entrusted with the interior descoration of the liners "Ile-de-France" and "Normandie" designed the building at 5 rue du Docteur Blanche with a
noteworthy door and ironwork. 15 rue Henri Heine and 24 rue Jasmin are both by Pol
Robert Mallet-Stevens, the architect of the villa Noailles at Hyères, built this street which
bears his name: five large private houses and caretaker's lodge at the far end.
The stained glass is by Barillet, the railings and doors by Jean Prouvé; Mallet-Stevens kept no. 12
for himself and the twin sculptors Joël and Jan Martel set up their studio at
no.10 (The overall look was altered by
additions in the 1970s).
Le Corbusier was commissioned to design two houses : one was for his
brother and the other (open to the public) for the collector La Roche ; from the
outside the two houses look like one.
Less daring but typical of their times some other buildings are worth
looking at: 5 rue de la Cure red brick with contrasted pointing and intricate
patterns on the upper floors, 40 rue Jasmin with tinted concrete, 10 rue
du Docteur Blanche (high school), the very art deco 32 rue
Raffet, 16 rue Ribera with
its top floor decorated with broken tiles.
Few interesting façades but, nonetheless, there is 11 square Jasmin,
which suggest paintings by Mondrian and architecture by Mies van der Rohe with its
streamlining and use of steel and glass, a novelty for Paris at the time.
Unlike many others, this building has aged well. Lastly, there is the
additional wing of the telephone exchange at 19 rue Jasmin with its metal frontage
which recalls the Diamond palazzo in Ferrara and Gesu Nuovo in
Apart from the land at the corner of
rue Henri Heine and rue Jasmin which is unused for the time being, another site is
being cleared (July 2012) 1bis rue Raffet thus leading to the demolition of the
only remaining trace of "le vieux Paris" in this area. Will it be replaced with
something forward-looking or merely by another feeble architectural
backward glance ?