Article published in Le Monde mai 3rd 2019
Transformed into a hotel structure, the typical site of the utopian architecture of the 1960s was auctioned for 120,000 euros. Their fluid, singular silhouettes stand out since 1967 with the landscape of the small rural town of Raon-l’Etape, in the Vosges But over the years, the utopian architectural curiosities of the bubble houses, designed by the Swiss architect Pascal Haüsermann, have turned into a financial gulf for their owners. Friday, May 3, they sold them during a brief auction held in Epinal, without attracting crowds and for a small fee. The whole of eleven houses was sold only 120 000 euros. The buyer, Christophe Péchet, is about fifty years old, works in Paris and is native of Vosges, according to his lawyer, Me Alain BEGEL. “His maternal grandmother was Vosges and he stayed for years during his holidays” in Raon-l’Etape, where she lived, he said, saying “very attached to the place” and carrying a “Real project” for these bubble houses.
Hope for a better exitThe bubble houses,
located on a plot of 4,100 square meters, separated from the rest of the town by a river, the Plain, had been acquired in 2006 for 180,000 euros by five friends , fascinated by the utopian architect and the 1950s to 1970s. They had transformed the site into a hotel structure, bringing it back to its original purpose. Due to a drop in attendance and the weight of bank loans contracted to finance the acquisition and renovation works, the architectural ensemble, christened Haüsermann Island, had been placed in receivership in 2015 and then closed. The eleven white bubbles, composed of a metal structure and projected concrete sail, had been classified as historical monuments in 2015. “It’s a very difficult moment, a part of our life goes away, all the involvement a decade goes off in a few minutes of auction, “said Joel Morel, one of the owners, very moved. With 120,000 euros, “we are far from the account compared to the investment we put in this place. There is not yet the account to repay all that we owe, “he added. But “we hope there will be a better outcome at the end of the ten days,” he slipped.