Fernand Pouillon - France

Actually Fernand Pouillon
(14.05.1912 - 24.07.1986) wanted to become a painter. In 1929 he started studying at the École des Beaux Arts in Marseille.
From 1932 to 1934 he studied architecture in Paris. In 1936, when he was only 22 years old, he designed his first real estate property in Aix-en-Provence.
At this time he was still without a degree, what was possible during the Vichy regime period. In the year 1942, he received his degree in architecture.
Until the year 1944 he realized several
works for the city of Marseille under the direction of Eugène Beaudouin.
From 1944 to 1953 Pouillon was actively involved
in the reconstruction of the old port district of Marseille together with his partner René Egger.
In the 1950s, he realized many public buildings in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.

After the war there had been a serious shortage of dwellings in France, and Fernand Pouillon became significantly involved in the post-war reconstruction of France.
Fernand Poullions had the ambition to build high-quality residential buildings at low costs, so that they would be
financially affordable for as many people as possible.
He claimed to be able to build 200 dwellings within 200 days and within a budget of 200 million francs. He succeeded with
this project.
In this context, he was commissioned in 1953 by the city of Algiers,
to repeat a similar project, on the condition to take into account the local architecture.
Within a year he created in 1600 residential units in Algier. As a consequence of this project, he earned a follow-up contract in Iran.


In 1961 he was commissioned to build a complex of low cost housing on the outskirts of Paris. In this project, he performed as an entrepreneur and as an architect,
what was illegal according to the laws of the time. Pouillon was reported by his rivals. As a consequence his company was reviewed by the public prosecution,
which led to his condemnation to four years in prison. After eight months in prison, he started a hunger strike and simulated seriously illness.
Subsquently he was transferred to another, less guarded part of the prison. There he was able to escape through a window by the help of a smuggled rope.
With the help of his friends at the Sorbonne, who were privy to the escape plans, he escaped to Fiesole in Tuscany, and then further to Algeria.
The group of friends at the Sorbonne now gathered evidences exonerating Fernand Pouillon from the accusation, to prove his innocence.
In 1963 he returned to France and turned himself to the court. In a sensational trial, the court acquitted him of the charges, but he was punished for his escape from prison.
In prison, he wrote his only novel, The Singing Stones (Les Pierres sauvages), a diary novel about the construction of the cistercian monastery Le Thoronet
from the perspective of the architect William Baltz.
In 1965 he received the Prix des Deux Magots for this novel.

The period from 1966 to 1972, he spent in voluntary exile in Algeria, where he worked as an architect.
In Algeria, he built hotels, administrative buildings, post offices and facilities of universities.
Under the title "Memoires d'un architecte" Fernand Pouillon published his memories in 1968.
In June 1971, he was pardoned in an amnesty by Georges Pompidou and returned to France in the following year
.
After his return from exile, he restored the completely dilapidated Château de Belcastel in the Auvergne as his residence.
In 1976, he built a monastery in Provence for Algerian nuns who had returned to France after the independence of Algeria.

He created a center for the Ministry of Culture near Versailles and an administrative building for the Paris Academy of Music in 1984.
François Mitterrand appointed him officer of the Legion of Honour in 1985.
Pouillon died at the age of 74 years at the Château de Belcastel. On his own request he was buried anonymously in a village cemetery.
Several of his buildings, including La Tourette in Marseille and Le Parc in Meudon-la-Forêt, have been awarded the label Patrimoine du XXe siècle.
In 2008 he was honored posthumously by the Algerian Tourism Minister for his oeuvre in Algeria, realized between 1964 and 1984.


1955 - 1957   Résidence Victor Hugo, Pantin
1955 - 1958   Résidende Buffalo, Montrouge
1957 - 1963   Résidence du Point Du Jour