Reinier de Graaf of OMA presents
"architecture with a social conscience"

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Reinier de Graaf of OMA talks to Dezeen about "architecture with a degree of social conscience" by anonymous local authority architects in France and Italy in the second of three movies we filmed at the firm's Public Works exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012.

Centre Administratif by Jacques Kalisz

Above: Centre Administratif by Jacques Kalisz

The exhibition features a selection of "masterpieces by bureaucrats" and includes three public buildings commissioned by communist-run mayors in the municipalities surrounding Paris in the 1960s and 70s. De Graaf explains how the construction of the Centre Administratif by Jacques Kalisz, the Hotel de Perfecture du Val-D’Oise by Henry Bernard and the Montreuil Zonne Industrielle Nord by Claude Le Goas each made a deliberate statement against the monumental architecture promoted after the war by Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou.

Centre Administratif by Jacques Kalisz

Above: Hotel de Perfecture du Val-D’Oise

By contrast, de Graaf also presents the San Giovanni Bono Church, which was designed by Arrigo Arrighetti at a housing estate in Milan on behalf of a democratic Christian government. He discusses how the building was constructed as a gift that would keep the population happy and prevent the communists gaining favour.

Montreuil Zonne Industrielle Nord (MOZINOR) by Claude Le Goas

Above: Montreuil Zonne Industrielle Nord (MOZINOR) by Claude Le Goas

"What you see as a communist endeavour in Paris you can actually see as a more right wing endeavour in Milan," says de Graaf. "The outcome is suspiciously close because they both try to court the same masses."

San Giovanni Bono Church by Arrigo Arrighetti

Above: San Giovanni Bono Church by Arrigo Arrighetti

Find out more about the exhibition in our earlier story, or hear about another of the featured buildings in the first movie from the series.

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See more stories about the Venice Architecture Biennale »

  • Dave

    These videos are very interesting, keep them coming!

  • Woycester 89

    Thank you OMA, finally some relevant stuff from this years Biennale of Nonsense.

  • Kostas Tsiambaos

    An ingenious participation. Congrats OMA!