Save La Butte Rouge Garden City!
Châtenay-Malabry, France, 1931-1965

Docomomo International has been notified by Docomomo France about the huge danger that the Butte Rouge Garden City, in Châtenay-Malabry, is facing, threatened by the intention of the mayor of the city to accept the demolition of 15 buildings, despite the efforts undertaken, including an “appeal from architects and town planners” by April 2019 (pdf), as well as campaign by an inhabitants’ collective supported by several organizations (Docomomo, Sites & Monuments, France Nature Environnement and the Order of Architects).

Therefore, Docomomo International would like to raise awareness for this case and appeal to all kinds of efforts to protect and respect the Butte Rouge Garden City.

“The Butte Rouge is one of 15 or so garden cities built by the Seine OPHBM all around the outskirts of Paris to house working populations. Inspired by the garden-city theories promoted by Ebenezer Howard in early-20th-century England, the Seine OPHBM’s initiatives were a response to the shortage and insalubrity of affordable housing in the Paris region.

At Châtenay-Malabry, the garden city was designed and built by a team of architects — Joseph Bassompierre, Paul de Rutté and André Arfvidson, later
replaced by Paul Sirvin — and a landscape architect, André Riousse. Construction was undertaken in seven phases from 1931 to 1965.”

This unique and outstanding ensemble comprises 3,900 dwellings set in 70 hectares of green open space, being a paradigm of the successful combination of social reform and architectural innovation. It is an internationally acknowledged urban model, in terms of architecture and landscapes, as well as in terms of social and economical issues.

The now planed demolition of 15 buildings, means demolishing nearly 85% of the existing housing stock (2,800 dwellings) and by this erasing one of the first example of garden-city in France. Not a district, a whole town will be destroyed and rebuilt, more than 1000 social houses and a natural landscape beauty erased. Perfectly convertible buildings are to be demolished with the excuse that they are old and unsafe. This is not true, most of them are perfectly convertible as they have been always renewed since their creation in the 1920s. The real issue is the ex Maire George Siffredi’s real estate speculation project going on since decades. An ecological non-sense as architecture is again sold on profit.

By this, an appeal to let observations to avoid demolitions was created on the following website (opened for observations until the 11th of January 2021) [French].

A detailed description of La Butte Rouge can be read on the Docomomo file (pdf).
The previous news by Docomomo International can be seen here.
For more information, please see the Docomomo France website.