Toulouse: big names in architecture and culture want to “save” the Vion barracks

the important thing
Two hundred big names in architecture, heritage and culture are taking action through a petition and an open letter to the Minister of Culture to save this Toulouse masterpiece by architect Pierre Debeaux, which they say is under threat.

Two hundred well-known national and international personalities from the world of architecture, heritage and culture are taking action, in a petition and an open letter to the Minister of Culture, to save the fire station of Jacques Vion, the main Toulouse work by Pierre Debeaux put up for sale by the City of Toulouse.
The former fire station on the Allées Charles de Fitte, known to Toulouse residents and to be decommissioned in 2025, is the subject of a call for tenders in a sealed envelope by the City, which owns it. This programmed transfer will be done without real protection, which legally opposes its demolition, according to the site’s defenders.

Daniel Buren and prominent architects among the signatories

Among the signatories are prestigious architects, such as Laurent Beaudouin (Equerre d’argent 2022), Patrick Bouchain (Grand prix de l’urbanisme 2019), Paul Chemetov, Jacques Ferrier (Equerre d’argent 2021), Pablo Katz ( president of the Academy of Architecture), Gilles Perraudin, Rudy Ricciotti (the Mucem in Marseilles) or the American Denise Scott Brown, or even the historian William JR Curtis, the painter Daniel Buren (the famous columns of the Palais -Royal in Paris) or the British conductor Daniel Harding.

The pentagonal tower with a double-revolution helicoidal staircase.

A request for protection was made to the DRAC (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs) of the Maison de l’architecture de Toulouse Occitanie, the Laboratory of ENSA (National School of Architecture of Toulouse) and the association Docomomo France. This request is pending with the prefect of the Occitanie region.
The petition was posted on

of the Collective for the recognition and protection of the work of Pierre Debeaux, wishing to gain popular support, was forwarded to the Minister of Culture.

“We want to sell to the highest bidder” (Sacha Briand)

“This great work is being sold to the highest bidder without protection against its demolition.  It is an irreparable loss if we demolish all or part of the entirety of this exceptional and completely original work”, can we read in this petition.

The auditorium and its inverted vault with wooden formwork.
The auditorium and its inverted vault with wooden formwork.

“We know the heritage value of this property, replied Sacha Briand, deputy mayor in charge of finance, we want to sell to the highest bidder and not to the highest bidder, the chosen method avoids any favor, which there is a wonderful consultation regulation of preserving the name of Jacques Vion and promoting rehabilitation”.

Does the Pink City deserve its nickname “the city of vandalism”?

An architectural and… musical masterpieceThe 200 personalities acting for the Vion barracks support the protection of the entire site. The whole, which Drac labeled “awesome building of (XXe

) century” (no legally protected character) with the monumental hall, the peristyle of the courtyard, the main staircase, the chapel and the auditorium with their vaults, the workshops, the exercise tower and its double spiral staircase which allows firefighters to go up and down at the same time, the gymnasium and a swimming pool, with about one hundred residential units to be brought up to standard in accordance with the general style of the barracks. “By being creative and formal that joy, this masterpiece can be compared to the convent of La Tourette by Corbusier and the composer Iannis Xenakis”, says the petition of collective support. Pierre Debeaux has always insisted on the relationship between architecture and music.

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