“The Rough Concrete Surfaces of Perret’s Notre-Dame du Raincy.” In Still Life, edited by Jennifer Bonner, 276-81. New York: Actar, 2016.
In 1923, the French architect-builders Auguste and Gustave Perret caused an uproar by exposing the cast concrete structure of a new monumental civic building. Their design for the church of Notre-Dame du Raincy celebrates the aesthetic and communicative potential of what Western architects had until then largely viewed as a liability: the rugged, streaked, stained, and cracked surfaces of naked concrete. After the completion of this widely-publicized project, designers and the public alike increasingly equated visible concrete with modern architecture.