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Communism's Still Big In Europe

Two French architects have measured the exact dimensions of the French Communist Party HQ. And yeah, it’s in red.
February 1, 2012, 6:35pm

As was the case with the parties of many Western European nations, the French Communist Party, once a leading political force, declined into nothing more than a museum of its former glory. The prestige of yesteryear now exists only in the social, artistic and architectural heritage represented by the PCF (French Communist Party) headquarters in Paris. Designed by Brazilian architect and Original Creator Oscar Niemeyer in 1965, and erected in 1971, the structure is as imposing as its founders, looming large and black atop a tiny grass hill. Its horizontal “boat” shape, however, boasting a gently curved face covered in dark glass windows, just received a moving homage by a duo of young architects.


Paying tribute to an architectural and historical landmark but also, in their own words, educating the general public on the importance of architecture, two founding members of the French studio FREAKS freearchitects staged an artistic intervention on the building's façade. Their installation, SUR MESURE (literally "tailor-made") consists of a large display of it’s face’s two dimensions, symbolized by red geometrical arrows taped onto the façade. And, if the idea of a Communist Party still retaining a large and legal headquarters in a Western capital hasn’t irked our American readers enough yet, the dimensions are proudly written in metric units: 65.31 × 20.83 meters, equaling a surface area of about 4,463.27854 square feet of pinko Commie agenda. The French National Council of the Architects commissioned the elegant artistic gesture as a means of raising awareness to surrounding Parisians on the importance of their daily fixture.

The architects documented their installation in a behind-the-scenes video available here.

Photos courtesy of David Foessel