Siège du Parti Communiste
This building is to house the various departmental services belonging to the organisation and is also the political head office of the French Communist Party. It is therefore not intended for us by the public at large, but for the militant members of the party.
With this end in view, two types of room were specified: Rooms for offices only where “permanent” members work; meeting rooms for such members, but also for members coming from outside. This appliers in particular to the board room of the central committee which is to serve as a meeting place for responsible members coming from all over France for special meetings lasting on an average about three days. The volumes of the building are a clear expression of this programme: office accommodation placed on a superstructure resting on five pillars. The infrastructure (nearer to the entrance) houses the meeting rooms and the exhibition rooms. Vertical connections in the building have been separated from the other areas by means of two towers that are very accentuated: The main one contains the lifts, chimneys, terminas and staircase; the second contains only an emergency staircase.
In positioning the building, town-planning was a factor of great importance: extension of Fabien Square, a screen to obliterate the back elevation of another block. A recent block of flats creates a counter-curve on the other side of Moreau Avenue. And this curve of the building, which is the best way of “taking possession of the plot”, solves at the same time the classic problem of the distribution corridor where the movement is one of curves and counter-curves which present the visitor with a host of perspectives while, at the same time, allowing him to locate the offices.
The first stage of construction includes all the offices, parking areas at two levels underground, as well as heating plant, air-conditioning, storage of vacuum cleaners and storage. The semi-underground level provides access ways (pedestrians and cars) and the reception offices. The caretaker’s flat, social services, the office of the telephonist are placed around a courtyard which also serves as a garden.
The second section of the building consists of parking areas, exhibition halls, and above all of a conference hall with seating for 450. This being placed in a privileged position under a cupola and in line with the facade. From here one climbs by means of an exterior ramp to a public esplanade formed by the roofing of the exhibition hall. The esplanade leads to the entrance for “pedestrians”.
The office sector consists of: first floor, mainly the documentation system; 4 floors of identical offices; sixth floor, restaurant-cafeteria with the large central kitchen running on self-service. A small dining-room which is quieter enables executives to continue with their work, if necessary, while eating. Each dining hall opens on to a little courtyard used as a garden which is embellished with a ceramic sculpture by the Brasilian painter Athos Bolkan. Finally, at top level, a huge terrace-promenade which is a belvedere overlooking Paris.
The construction is of reinforced concrete. The office block sits on 5 pillars doubled with 10 orifices for the various floors. The underground levels employ a system of moulded partitions concrete has been left visible, including the undersides of the ceiling slabs in the offices. The gables are covered with white ceramic. The curtain wall, constructed with the help of Jean Prouvé, is in polyglass with, on the outside of the glass, a gray parasol.
Location: Paris, France
Collaborators: Jean Deroche - Paul Chemetov
Curtain Wall Facade: Jean Prouvé
Photography : August Fischer - Thomas Herrmann - Andreas Gursky - Luca Zanier
Text: Das Werk 60, 1973