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Lycée de jeunes filles, La Source, Orléans

©François Lauginie

Lycée de jeunes filles, La Source, Orléans, 1968

Andrault & Parat
  • Architects

In the late 1950s, reacting against the formal aridity propagated by functionalist post-war architecture, Michel Andrault and Pierre Parat began advocating an approach to space based on the visual arts, imagining form as a vehicle for emotions. The expressionism and virtuosity of Pierre Parat's drawings were transposed into the architectural order by the sculptural interplay of imposing spaces and volumes, hailed in 1963 as architecture-sculpture by the critic Michel Ragon. The firm's prolific production constantly emphasized the needs of the user through a modernism freed from the metallic beam and the cube. Materials such as brick, steel, glass and concrete were put to the service of rich and innovative compositions, notably designed with the hope of infusing a new quality of life into multi-unit housing. They built several pyramidal apartment buildings, offering a system of units staggered in terraces (Immeuble Pyramide, Villepinte, 1969; Les Pyramides, Evry, 1972-81) or terraced-gardens (Gradins-Jardins, Meylan, 1974-77). They also built numerous tower projects which involved suspending modules around monumental masts (Tolbiac Faculty, Paris, 1971; Tour Totem, 1976-78), similar to projects by the Japanese Metabolists.

Graduates in Urbanism from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, the architects Michel Andrault (1926) and Pierre Parat (1928), who was also a graduate from the University of Lima, created the Andrault & Parat firm in 1957, having won an international competition for the Basilica of Syracuse. They built many projects in the Île-de-France region and in Paris, notably in the La Défense business district (Tour Kupka, Paris, 1992; Tour Séquoia, Paris, 1989-90...) as well as the Palais Omnisport de Paris-Bercy (1979-84), for which they were awarded the National Grand Prize for Architecture in 1985. Several of their flagship projects from the 1960s are located in the Centre region of France (La Chancellerie, Bourges, 1960-63 and the Cérabati earthenware factory, Châteauroux, 1961-62).