Newcastle Station Clock

Newcastle Station Clock

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Avoir respect pour votre contexte?

Have a look at the Dezeen article about the proposed Russian Orthodox Church and Cultural Centre in Paris, spitting distance away from the Eiffel Tower, by Russian Architects Arch-group and French Studio Sade Sarl.

Sorry I should have warned you about it first, don't worry your shoes will clean.
At first it would appear that somewhere in the Franco-Russian translation the phrase "to be built in Paris" got lost. A quick check with Google Translate shows that "Sera construit à Paris" translates in Russian to "Париже", unfortunately I neither speak or read Russian so I have no idea if this still means the same, but translating it back to French gets the original result so I doubt this to be the problem.

So it can only mean that the designer honestly thought that Russian style church domes would look perfect next to the Eiffel Tower, and not any old domes, golden domes. To add insult to injury these domes break freely into a sweeping cloth like glass roof. Thankfully when standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower this will go some way to hiding the arched white building below and oddly countryside like landscaping that would be more at home somewhere near Moscow. Oh and surrounding this is a glass wall of multimedia screens.

The worst thing is apparently this is fitting in with the context, apparently it uses a "symmetrical composition of the kind that is traditional for the old centre of Paris." And I suppose the golden domes are just of the sort Napoleon really wanted for the Arc de Triomphe.

They spend so much time in architecture schools trying to teach us to build considering the context then someone does this, makes you wonder why the tutors bother.

So next time you show someone your holiday photos from Paris, don't be surprised if they ask if you tried the vodka.

To see full information about the building, see the Dezeen article


  1. So i guess the Tour Montparnasse sits perfectly within the context of Paris? Do I detect a hint of bias here simply because the complex is Russian?

  2. A well chosen comparison. The Tour Montparnasse is undoubtedly a fine example of the 70s architects forgetting where they are, building such a tall building amongst such a low rise area of the city. The choice of the Russian Orthodox was purely due to it being topical and a easy way of putting across the point, I would have written a very similar article had the French Church built a Eiffel Tower styled church next to St. Basil's.

  3. I promise, there is no bias at all within the writers of this page. Do not underestimate our capacity to be negative about EVERYTHING.