BPO’s Monument Building in Montgemont, France

July 27, 2015

The BPO’s building in Montgemont, an iconic piece of contemporary architecture and an exceptional construction in Rennes’ countryside, is now being seriously threated by a demolition permit.

It is time to act and react. At stake is the urgent need to save a major building of the 20th century.

Conceived by architects Odile Decq and Benoit Cornette, the BPO’s building brought international recognication to its authors with a Golden Lion at the Venice Bienale in 1996. Their innovative approach of mixing architecture, engineering and industry in search of a new spatiality was highly acclaimed at the time. Technically exceptional with its architectural experimentations, the BPO’s building embodies the “high tech” movement at the same level as the HSBC Tower in Hong Kong or the Lloyd’s Headquarters in London. With its suspended double glazing facades, the BPO’s Building represents an exceptional collaboration between architects and engineers. Peter RIce’s team within RFR found, in Rennes’ countryside, an experimental playground like no other, just after the Villette’s glass house project.

The Rise of such a piece of art in the French landscape, so rich in details, was a real historic event by itw way of totally renewing the tertiary architecture language and standing out as an alternative to the banality of filling up suburban zone with boxes of no architecture interest. Unfortunately, the BPO’s building is not an isolated case. For some time now, several major buildings, from moder to contemporary history, are in real danger and are victims of financial analysis and economic profits. Yet, those buildings are most often reusable. In the BPO’s case, this is obvious when you consider its 7 hectares and their incredible potential. So why demolish it ? Why not reflect on its reusability instead ?

An international emergency has been launched into a call for action – it is critical to save this building from is promised demolition, and by extension, arise the issue of the conservation of this 20th century icon, which is different from the usual patrimonial sites, but nonetheless precious to conserve.


Isabelle Palmi, Director – ICOMOS France, ICOMOS ISC20C,email: i.palmi@icomosfrance.fr