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25bis, rue Franklin, Paris 16e

Architect : Perret & Frères
25bis, rue Franklin, Paris 16e
Date : 1904


It is on a small plot of 185 m2 that the building on Franklin Street is articulated and tapers upwards. The facade rises ten floors and ends with a terrace. The street facade is characterized by a symmetrical bow windows from each side of the central courtyard (14 m2), below which lie the two entrance doors. The central part includes a shop window glazed by a store topped with a terrace at the bottom of which rise the superior floors. Every floor includes three windows: a central window parallel to the street, and two windows slightly tilted towards the center. By a play of redent and set back Auguste Perret gives to the facade a large surface of exposure onto street, so increasing the lighting of the rooms of every apartment. This facade is covered with tiles of wills flamed in the floral decorations.


The posterior facade is brick-built and glass brick-built. In front of the hall of the left front door we find the main staircase. In the left of the staircase are the lodge and the backstairs ; in its right, the elevator and the entrance of the office which  was occupied by the Perret brothers. The main staircase is completely built reinforced concrete. The north wall of the staircase is a wall of glass brick allowing to have a light source in the stairwell. This staircase serves nine floors with the exception of the eighth where are domestics' rooms. The latter are served by the backstairs. The first five floors are similar and consist each a very spacious apartment of 161 m2. The apartments of the following floors have dissimilar surfaces: 155m2 for the sixth floor, 53 m2 for the seventh, 10 m2 x by 10 (rooms) for the eighth and 67 m2 for the ninth floor. The small surface of this apartment is compensated with a system of terrace distributed on three floors: a main terrace on the same level as the apartment which occupied Auguste Perret; two other terraces are served by two outer staircases: the leading to to the terrace of the roof which shelters a small garden of flowers and trees; other one leading to the terrace of the eighth inaccessible floor by the domestics.


While combining his modern conception of the architecture and the use of a new constructive method as well as the state-of-the-art materials, Auguste Perret succeeds in realizing this apartment building. The visible reinforced concrete skeleton, in facade, form the architecture of the building. It consists of posts arranged in the extremities of the segments which divide up the internal space. Walls are not any more carriers as in the traditional constructions. This allows for every floor to have a free plan which makes possible an arrangement of the partitions of rooms according to the desires of the inhabitants. The concrete partitions between posts are covered with a protective skin in tiles of flamed stoneware Alexandre Bigot's floral decorations. These covers are different as they are applied to the post or to the fillings. They so assert the skeleton.
 
Carrying skeleton and fillings thus appear here for the first time in the history of the architecture.


The building of the Franklin Street realizes the perfect type of a modern luxury building: elevator, cellar, electricity, bathroom, toilet, telephone, caretaker and rooms for the domestics. The building was moreover considered from the beginning as its comfort and its modernity. We find this modernity within the apartments where no partition codifies the space.

The building adopts all the possibilities of the modern architecture: use of new materials (prestressed concrete, brick-built glass walls used here for the first time), wide bays, terraces. These elements allow to offer a good natural lighting for the residents. For the first time, the reinforced concrete skeleton is voluntarily visible. It is it that assures the elegance of the building. The elegance and the lightness are also insured by the cover of ceramic the floral decorations stylized by the facade which underline the structure. Auguste Perret knew how to achieve with perfection the tasks which contribute to the success of the program of residential property: efficiency on a plot of land, a constructive quality, a good arrangement of spaces.



The building of 25bis Franklin Street was abundantly commented and illustrated by the French press. Architects such as Le Corbusier allowed to make known abroad, in particular during its journey in Germany of 1910, the renting building of 25bisFranklin Street, not understood at that time. The house of the Franklin street, real architectural experiment, is known from now on universally because it represents a turning point. Its impact extends beyond the work of Perret in all the history of the architecture of the XXth century.


Auguste Perret is the first manufacturer to interpret the possibilities of the reinforced concrete to renew the architectural design of the volumes and the plans. We find four basic principles of his doctrine, applied from the building of 1903 and expressed by him completely and publicly for the first time during a conference to the Institute of Art and Archaeology on May 31st, 1933.