We should save the West Popular Bank building in Montgermont, France. This is the alarmist cry of the architect Odile Decq in a recent international petition to Francois Hollande and Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin. The creator of this building, inaugurated in 1990 and for which she received numerous international prizes, is worried about what will become of the structure.
Since the BPO teams moved to new headquarters at the end of 2014, located in the neighboring commune of Saint-Gregoire, north of Rennes, the Montgermont building has been abandoned. The bank is even filing a request for a demolition permit on Friday with the town hall of Montgermont in anticipation of a new real estate project to be carried out by the Lamotte Group.
A Symbolic Work of 1990's Architecture
It's a scandal for the architect Odile Decq, who is staunch about preserving this work, as it's emblematic of the architecture of the '90s. Housing "the first totally panoramic elevator in France," the building could also boast of being "the first office building in France built entirely out of metal carpentry," recalls its designer, who also designed the new Regional Contemporary Art Fund of Rennes.
Among its other details, the former headquarters of the BPO also has a suspended dual glazing facade. "But today, this building is under threat of destruction," protests Odile Decq, who is asking for the site to be registered as a historic monument and for a declaration of "20th Century Heritage," which would allow for protecting the building, clarifies Le Figaro.
"An Obsolete Building" for the BPO
"This building is perhaps a master work, but it's obsolete, and our partners lived there under difficult conditions," responds Benoit Caron, the bank's secretary general, interviewed in the columns of Ouest-France. "We have launched a request for proposals regarding the site's future, and all the responses came to the same conclusion: the total destruction of the buildings, before any new planning," he continues.
In this armwrestling match, Odile Decq is now waiting for a response from higher up in the State in order for her work to escape this demolition program.
What happens when living architects see their buildings demolished? Are there any prominent pieces of 20th century architecture that should be preserved in your community? Share your thoughts and city's stories in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in French on 20 Minutes, here.
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