LE JARDIN ATLANTIQUE (spine title). A PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM DOCUMENTING THE PROGRESS OF CONSTRUCTION OVER TWENTY YEARS.
Photographic documentation of a surprising garden creation in central Paris: the building of Le Jardin Atlantique above the train tracks of the Gare Montparnasse. This documentation begins in 1973, before the landscape architects Francois Brun, Michel Pena, and Christine Pena won their proposal to design the marine themed garden (see Racine, CREATEURS DE JARDINS ET DE PAYSAGES EN FRANCE DU XIXe SIECLE. pp.333-4) that was meant to rest above the station tracks that led to the West Coast of France. This was a bold undertaking that involved raising a new level on twelve pillars above the train tracks in an area over 3 hectares. The steps involved in this are the subject of this album. The first shot was taken from the interior of one of the large apartment buildings that surround the garden itself and the station complex. Its focus is on the apartment window sill where vintage garden tools, as well as other artefacts, are displayed on the shelf overlooking the visible train tracks. There are several shots directly centring on the tracks from the same viewpoint, with the tops of the Eiffel Tower and Invalides visible in the distance, and others shots from different directions at night, in the snow, etc. taken in the early 80s. In 1988, the photos begin to show considerable construction on the site and, by May, 1989, we can see the beginning of the elevation of the dalle or platform elevated above the tracks on concrete pillars, which included the elevation of a building to be used for a WWII museum. By 1992 the dalle seems to be complete and the construction of garden features begun, including undulating paths, climbing structures and ship mast-like lighting fixtures, and plantings. There are photographs of the blue tiled, ocean- themed walls, the waterways, the wavelike wall structures and wooden planked walkways, a children’s playground in a setting of beach sand, and an elevated pavilion suggesting the brig of a ship. The beautifully plant-enclosed tennis courts are paved in blue and the whole garden is well used today by residents; yet it remains a hidden surprise within the walls of the urban commercial and residential buildings surrounding it. A connection to the train concourse is maintained by ventilator shafts that allow the sounds of departure and arrival announcements to be heard above. Hidden above the Gare Montparanasse.
Contemporary photo album in black simulated leather; penned title on paper label on spine; black paper leaves mounted with original photographs in both black and white and in colour. Fine condition.
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