© Raphaëlle Saint-Pierre
Guided tour of the Maurice-Ravel foyer
Date and time: 19th September 2020, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (GMT+2)

Docomomo International is pleased to announce the guided tour to the Maurice-Ravel foyer, taking place at 19th September 2020, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (GMT+2). This initiative is co-organized with the docomomo France association.

The building is located in Nanterre, on the edge of André Malraux Park, near the La Défense district. Built between 1976 and 1978 by the architect Jacques Kalisz to house music students in a higher education or preparatory establishment recognized by the State, the Maurice Ravel foyer is a group representative of the 1970s, both in terms of its program, its architecture, its urban inscription only by its assembly. The operation was first initiated by an association of teachers and parents of students from the Conservatoire, then carried by the HLM Le Nouveau Logis company, from the SCIC (Caisse des Dépôts) group. It is subsidized by the Ministry of Culture up to 25%. The definition of the program stems from a sociological survey of future users, pupils, teachers but also professional musicians. This is an exemplary principle of participation in line with the approach already taken by Jacques Kalisz and Jean Perrotet for the school group and the J. Lolive college in Pantin. The apartments in the home therefore offer optimal accommodation conditions while meeting the criteria of social housing. The architect develops duplex units in order to make the various living and working functions, and in particular the practice of the instrument, independent, thus offering a rare set of artist workshops exclusively dedicated to musicians. Each housing unit is designed as an independent volume, the assembly and juxtaposition of which generate various masses, linked together and served by horizontal and vertical circulation in the open air. The composition is presented as an interweaving of cubic volumes which overlap on five levels. The cells, set back or cantilevered, create a varied play of full and empty spaces and sometimes seem suspended in the air. The two types of cubic spaces have, depending on the case, one or two corner windows. These location and distribution choices encourage meetings, while preserving everyone’s privacy, and allow students to live as in a village. This program is generously supplemented by a series of facilities such as a disco, library, listening room, but also a concert hall with acoustic qualities recognized by the greatest musicians of the 20th century, including Olivier Messiaen. The foyer takes place at the heart of a coherent whole formed by apartment buildings and the old school of architecture of La Défense, all designed by the architect Jacques Kalisz, connected by the park designed by Jacques Sgard and the shadow of the prefecture of André Wogenscky.

This building is listed as a Heritage in Danger in docomomo International’s website, and you can find more information in this link.

More details about the guided tour: here. [French]