Postmodern Utopian Dream City (Paris/ France)

A Paris unknown to many unfolds itself in a part of the eastern suburb of Noisy-le-Grand.
The otherworldly housing estate was originally built to house a migrant population of rural and foreign refugees post WW2.

Constructed between 1978 and 1983 the complexes were designed to represent an alternative architectural approach. A number of Hollywood films used the place as a backdrop, including Brazil (1984) and, more recently, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (2014).
But inside this postmodern utopian dream city, all is quiet: time stops and people are scarce.
Parisian photographer Laurent Kronental's photo series, Souvenir d'un Futur (Memory of a Future), is a homage to what he describes as the "stranded senior citizens" of the French capital's Grand Ensemble region. He photographed it over the course of 4 years.
In 2006 there were plans to demolish parts of the development but after widespread resentment from its inhabitants it was decided to keep it standing for now.

"These 'monuments', living memories of their time, personify the fragile strength of a youth having blindly aged." —Laurent Kronental

Walk through on google maps streetview:

Photos by Laurent Kronental

Other sources:


  1. Wow. Hauntingly beautiful and absolutely terrifying.

    Let's hope they don't tear it down and rather restore it to an art museum or something instead.

  2. I live near Paris since my childhood, and never heard about most of those buildings - even if I can see the towers of the 5th picture from my suburb train, on the background. Thanks for this post - I'll try to give a closer look to those places, someday. They are quite fascinating !

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