Unusual metal façade on this building, don't you think? But of course the traditional stone façade is still there, it's just been wrapped in narrow strips of metal.
Second photo: A closer look at the façade.
Third photo: A new courtyard at the west side of the building, rue des Bons Enfants.
Fourth photo: In the windows on the outside of this building there is an exhibit of large posters showing architectural projects in different parts of France which are being supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication. This one is the Centre Pompidou-Metz, a large new museum which is now under construction in Metz and is scheduled to open in January 2008.
Fifth photo: Here's another big project, the City of Design in Saint-Etienne.
Perhaps not since the construction of Centre Georges Pompidou and la Pyramide du Louvre has the heart of Paris seen such a clash between modern and old. This time it was the Ministry of Culture and Communications, which had plans to relocate its offices to two adjacent buildings, a 1919 Belle-Époque beauty and an ordinary 1960 modern building. In 2006, the ministry employed the architect, Francis Soler, to join the two buildings into a single office space, but he was faced with the impossible task of unifying two completely different styles. He ingeniously wrapped the two edifices with a metallic net in a lace-like, Art Nouveau-inspired design to create a sense of unity and continuity. The effect is quite extraordinary, but leaves open the decades-old debate over whether or not there is room for modern architecture in historic Paris. You be the judge!
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