Mozinor, the vertical industrial city of Montreuil labeled “Remarkable Contemporary Architecture”

© City of Montreuil / Semimo

The Mozinor vertical industrial estate has just been awarded the “Remarkable Contemporary Architecture” label. This distinction recognizes the most significant achievements of the 20th and 21st centuries in terms of architecture and technology.


The Montreuil Zone Industrielle Nord, more commonly known as Mozinor, was the first high-rise industrial complex built in France. It is an emblematic industrial estate in the city of Montreuil (93). This witness of the brutalist aesthetics of the second half of the twentieth century, recognized for the graphic writing of its facades, is now labeled “Remarkable Contemporary Architecture”. This distinction was created by the law of July 7, 2016 on the freedom of creation, architecture and heritage (known as LCAP), following the disappearance of the label “Heritage of the twentieth century”, and signals the buildings and productions of less than 100 years not protected as “Historic Monuments”.


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A response to the degraded industrial context

© City of Montreuil / Semimo
© City of Montreuil / Semimo

The 1960s were marked by a strong deindustrialization of the Paris region, which resulted in Montreuil in significant job losses. On December 2, 1963, the city council of the Seine-Saint-Denis municipality announced the creation of Mozinor, an industrial city whose objective was to reindustrialize the city and create 10,000 jobs. Faced with the reluctance of the inhabitants, who were opposed to the operation which required the destruction of nearly 200 pavilions, the industrial estate was transformed into a vertical business hotel. With its roof terrace planted with a 2 hectare meadow, the building is more respectful of the environment and the living environment.


However, the project was quickly overtaken by economic and industrial reality. The historical companies in the construction, wood processing and toy manufacturing industries disappeared one after the other: between 1962 and 1966, 1,500 jobs left the city and nearly 50 companies closed down. In ten years, one third of the companies in the town ceased all activity. The industrial sector lost 1,200 jobs in 1970 alone.


For the city council, it was time to act: on March 21, 1972, it was announced that an industrial ZAC would be created. This decision gave final approval to the Mozinor industrial hotel project, which had been imagined ten years earlier.


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42,000 m2 of modular premises

© City of Montreuil / Semimo
© City of Montreuil / Semimo

The design of the industrial hotel was entrusted to the architects Gilbert-Paul Bertrand, notably recognized as the urban planner of Pierrefittes-sur-Seine, and Claude Le Goas, also an urban planner from Montreuil, to whom we owe the CGT confederate headquarters or the Croix-de-Chavaux Conservatory.


The two men designed a 42,000 m2 industrial building in reinforced concrete, with a post-and-beam framework on which floor slabs rest, on a 3.2 hectare site. The building serves, on four floors, modular activity premises from 500 to 6,000 m2.


The premises are distributed by a central, low-slope spiral ramp that can be used by 30-ton trucks without them ever having to pass each other, whether they are going up or down.


Half a century later, Mozinor is home to 50 companies and 500 employees in the fields of industry, art, design, events, food, leisure and culture, and printing.


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