A brutalism pioneer
Almost unknown to the general public, and often forgotten by the specialist, the figure of Auguste Perret came to my memory today.
Actually what I remembered was his 1905 project: “Garage Ponthieu”. I do not know if it was the nostalgia for Gazaneo classes or maybe, why a client sent me a very interesting article appeared in The Economist: Parkeddon, How to create traffic jams, pollution, and urban sprawl.
In any case, I remembered the building, designed and built by this Frenchman, although born in Belgium, who abandoned his architecture studies at the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris at age 23 before graduating and started working in the family business Specializing in reinforced concrete. Garage Ponthieu owes its name to the street in which it was, But beware that if the route took a curious to the number 51 of the rue Ponthieu in Paris you will not see any sign of the pioneering building designed by Perret.
The cutting edge architect in the use of materials destined to the industry in the residential use was also the precursor of the automated parking, with bridges that connected the two lateral zones and could move along the plant. The operation today seems rather elementary, but at the time it was revolutionary the approach that proposed that besides demonstrating the enthusiasm for the machines produced a spatiality more than interesting for a program that was sighted like one of the problems of the future.
The vehicle entered and went through the plant until the break where, through a turntable, the elevator that took the car to the floor was accessed and there the car entered platforms, similar to a bridge crane, that were moving To the position where the vehicle was to be parked.
The proposal is completed maximizing the natural lighting through a glass roof over the double central height that also rises to allow natural ventilation. The façade exhibits to the exterior what happens in the interior and really Ponthieu can well be considered the first building that fully shows the concrete structure with beams and columns and also shows off this showing with impudence both inside and in the Exterior.
Perret shows in this building a clarity of which many have watered and although the building has disappeared the commitment with the spirit of an era that was beginning still inspires us.