Castel Béranger--page 1 (of three pages)

Hector Guimard
1898




This residential building with twenty-six apartments was one of the first buildings in Paris in the new art nouveau style. This apartment building was one of the young architect's first commissions, completed after he had met Horta in Brussels and been impressed with that architect's style. (See this site for art nouveau buildings in Brussels.) Although the building won the 1st prize for the most beautiful facade of the City of Paris in a contest held in 1898 by the City of Paris, it had its detractors, earning it as well the name Castel Dérangé (Castel Cracked) while its architect was called crazy. See the sign, engraved on the facade, announcing that award.

Why was it radical? Unlike the typical elegant but boring Haussmann style, it benefited from changes in the building codes which allowed for larger projections on facades--like bow windows. Like Horta's works, it uses sculptural decoration, decorative metal railings, and curvilinear forms (like doorways). It is also radical in its combination of various materials and textures in the facade. Guimard used pierre de taille, glazed bricks in both red and grey, millstones, various metals--cast iron (which had only been used in railroad stations, greenhouses, and factories) and copper, and stained-glass.

Like Horta, "Guimard became involved in every detail of the project, designing the furniture, ornamental ironwork, carpets, glass, wall paper, door locks and doorknobs" (quoted from Wikipedia entry).

The front facade at 14 rue de la Fontaine in the 16th arrondissement of Paris

 

The spectacular entrance

The asymmetric door, with arched top and arched lintel, is flanked by columns with carved foliage at the base and top and is under an elaborate foliate carving.
 
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The corner bays

 

Image at left is from Wikipedia entry

Note the balcony ironwork with grotesque masks and foliate designs.
 

The top story





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© 2017 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site) and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.