3. Le Viaduc et le Temple (1982 and 1986, Montigny le Bretonneux)
Ricardo Bofill conceived La Sourderie, a part of the ville nouvelle of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, as a vast housing ensemble to “magnify [the] daily life” of its residents. Bofill intended to give a sense of place through a design that was anchored in the traditions of the area. He first drew his inspiration from French historic architecture to design Le Viaduc (derived from the Chateau de Chenonceau), the surrounding garden and the central artificial lake (derived from the Jardins à la Francaise of the nearby Chateau de Versailles). Then, he built Le Temple based on the local Greco-Roman legacy (he thought of it as an offshoot of the Parthenon in Athens). Completed in 1986, the development forms the “Versailles for the people” contemplated by its creator. By associating historic architectural shapes with cutting-edge construction techniques (prefabricated elements, architectonic concrete), Bofill was aiming to revolutionize affordable housing, allowing anybody to live in a piece of art.