Ugliest music building gets renamed

Ugliest music building gets renamed


norman lebrecht

January 13, 2021

Anyone who has ever appeared on Radio France will recognise its Seine-side building as one of the most impractical, least aesthetic public facilities on earth. Miles and mles of corridors leading back onto themselves. Studios that haven’t been upgraded since the Algeria war.

Nobody loves it, nobody cares.

Except the bureaucrats who sit on the top floor.

They have ordered the building to be renamed.

It was ‘Maison de la radio’.

It will now be known as ‘Maison de la radio et de la musique’.

By order of the République.


  • The concert hall inside was renovated few years ago it was at the end the 15 glorious years of Chung who gave at the orchestra an excellent reputation in France and outside. The renovation is a big success the concert superb; It’s not a parisian Barbican. I suppose Norman that you didn’t go there since 2015. Concerning the buidings there’s worst in Paris from the 70’s and the 80’s close to that place.

    • Francis Carlin says:

      The concert hall is superb acoustically but only if you’re in front of the orchestra. On the sides and behind, it is, of course, impossible as with all in-the- round halls.

      • I went there several times it was very good even at the top. And I have only good memories of the artists i have seen for exemple Yeol Eum Son Rudy Buchbinder and Neeme Jarvi who was just in front of me once.

  • V.Lind says:

    And they say the French are romantic…

  • Rogerio says:

    In Pandemic Times, certainly a better decision than to construct a new concert hall for the two orchestras and two choirs that Radio France manages.
    Also, I believe that Radio France, unlike the BBC, has managed to keep out the WOKE virus. Maybe because the Maison has confusing corridors, non?

  • DB says:

    Instead of the usual French-bashing, you might applaud the explicit recognition of the important part music plays at the French radio. Its two orchestras and choir have been repeatedly menaced with cutbacks and mergers, including by the current direction. That will now be much more difficult to defend in a house that has music in its name.
    And yes, the new hall sounds very nice and is absolutely beautiful.

  • french horn says:

    Vive le french bashing ! It’s a national sport in England like the cricket !

  • John Borstlap says:

    Once I was to meet someone in that building, but I got lost, and was rescued two days later by a mine rescue team, together with five employees who had comparable logistic troubles.

  • In Paradiso says:

    For me, the hall has good acoustics and a lovely atmosphere. Seats not very expensive. At a time, last minute, posh ones were all 25 EUR! And the studio 104 is enjoyable. I loved going there even when it was a broadcasted program. Never associated the building to something grim.

  • Jean says:

    My auntie used to live on that street. I remember walking a chihuahua there while watching the orchestra’s trucks.
    Childhood nostalgia….

  • CYM says:

    I performed at the Maison de la Radio, on excellent piano, acoustics of a medium sized hall. The building is at the edge from touristy Paris.
    – If you want an ugly building, it is Tour Montparnasse high rise tower, ruining the beautiful city.
    A old joke is that « Tour Montparnasse is the most beautiful building in Paris, as it is the only panorama top floor where you don’t see … the Tour Montparnasse … »

  • Patricia says:

    Have a look at the Disney Concert Hall in L.A. It’s an abomination. But then, it’s L.A., baby!

  • CJ says:

    The French-bashing on this blog really reaches ridiculous levels!
    This architectural criticism seems most ironic, coming from a country that has disfigured its capital for ever and keeps doing it!
    I feel like crying every time I go to London and I see complete blocks of houses in historic parts of the city (Knightsbridge, Picadilly, the City…) destroyed and replaced by horrible buildings in glass and steel. The once so beautiful perspectives on and from the river have been spoiled by horrible towers, some of them dwarfing the cathedral. How often I have wished Prince Charles could become the Mayor of London!
    Until now, apart frome some unfortunate mistakes (the Tour Montparnasse, Jussieu…), the center of Paris has been rather well protected, from a boat on the Seine, for example, the sights would not have been very different a Century ago. (And la Maison de la Radio at least is not too high.).
    And don’t tell me I am chauvinistic, I am not French (nor British)! 😉

  • David A. Boxwell says:

    Metro: Ranelagh. It seems to take forever to get there, and a long walk from the Metro in the cold rain is no fun, despite the good acoustics in the hall.