This week I discovered the suppressed architectural alter-ego of Paris. Pretty unusual opener to a blog post.

Forget the Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and Classical look of the city as we know it. This modernist view is something entirely unexpected but compeletely engrossing.

Local French photographer Laurent Kronental has captured a briefer moment somewhere between the 50s and 80s where a burst of modernist architecture predicted a futuristic utopia. I reckon very few of us living elsewhere would associate this look with the French capital.

As the capital continued to grow with an influx of immigrants and urbanisation, a housing crisis followed and a solution was needed. The answer was to build these imposing modernist buildings, that sadly, within a couple of decades would reflect a forgotten Paris. Younger families moved out, enticed by affluent inner city Paris, older residents stayed put.

This series, titled ‘Souvenir d’un Futur’, looks at the residents of these neglected buildings and what he describes as ‘the poetry of ageing environments’.

Can’t keep my eyes off these.

Really fascinating stuff. It’s almost like a bizarre alternate-universe Paris. I love them, a perfect example of “urban culture” and how a proposed utopia 30 years ago can shift quite drastically from what was envisioned.

What do you think? As always, get in touch in the usual places on social, or in the comments below!

Laurent Kronental

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Images © Laurent Kronental

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