View of the conference room [ca. 1956]

A house funded by the ministry of Agriculture and the Association nationale de la meunerie française

In the 1940s the École nationale des industries agricoles et alimentaires (ENSIA) needed to house its students in Paris. With the push from its students, alumni and the school’s director, several solutions were tried (Hôtel Univers de Paris, hôtel particulier à Courbevoie) but none were satisfactory. The minister of Agriculture finally financed the constructed of a house at the Cité internationale. The project was signed on the 12th of March 1954. The Association nationale de la meunerie française funded about twenty rooms.

The Maison des industries agricoles et alimentaires holds the status of a foundation and is recognised as a public utility. Since the 1st of May 2019 it has been a part of the Maison internationale AgroParisTech

Despite the underlying desire to economise, the interior of the house is as clean as the exterior. There are no rooms exposed to the north. The architects wanted to “warm the atmosphere of the building. The strong yellow of the stairs was intended to invite you to climb up, making it possible to recognise the floors by the alternating colours red, blue and green. The brightly coloured walls give each room its character”. A fresco representing the industrial theme was create in the hall by Henriette Cacqueray and Chantal Moulin.

At its opening the building had 78 rooms of which 38 were doubles. Today it has 117 rooms. Two flat-shares have since been proposed. The house will soon be renovated to cater to new needs, notably  concerning the environment and comfort.


A modern building with subtle polychromy

As they had a tight budget the architects Francis Thieulin and Xavier de Vigan opted for simple volumes with two wings that were centred on the vertical of the staircase. The building uses the principles of modern architecture: simple volume, roof terrace, long windows and a subtle polychromy. The construction rhythm is highlighted by the colour: the green of the grass, the pink of the foundations and the vertical of the stairs. The building doesn’t have any architectural features besides the general raft foundation system that was chosen due to the mediocrity of the soil.