The colossal concrete buildings in Laurent Kronental‘s series Souvenir d’un Futur look like something out of a futuristic sci-fi blockbuster. To some degree they are, as a few of them appear in the latest Hunger Games movie, but in reality they are more than 60 years old and situated just beyond Paris.
These modernist buildings, known as grand ensembles, were France’s response to a severe post-war housing shortage. Between 1954 and 1973, the country erected public housing in the suburbs surrounding the City of Light. These towering structures, which included some six million units, embodied the prevailing idea that modernist architecture could help foster a utopian state by improving people’s lives. “They were praised as places where men could blossom away from the agitation of big cities,” Kronental explains.
Check out our favourite pictures below and make sure to visit Laurent Kronental’s website for more beautiful photography.