Friday, 14 September 2007

Hausmann rules, but not always

One of the joys of Paris - of central Paris, at least - is the endless variation on the theme of Hausmann; street after street, quartier after quartier, of houses that follow the same essential rules of architecture, yet each with its je ne sais quoi, a colour, a detail, a proportion of window, almost identical yet not quite; harmony without regimentation, simply because it's better that way. It makes sense.

And then you turn a corner and see two little buildings like this, squeezed into a wedge of space that's good for nothing else, idiosyncratic, unplanned, but still with the single line of guttering to unite them, and the garret window, and the green of the smaller façade tuned into the probably mildewed roof tiles of its slightly more prosperous neighbour, although both of them have almost certainly seen better days.

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