Saturday, February 24, 2007

Combarel Hospital, the Incongruous

I have learned at least one factoid by writing this series on the old Rodez hospital: why its location was called the "site Combarel." In 1871, the writer Denis Combarel left 300,000 gold francs to the city to improve the existing hospices. Would he have been pleased with the changes the next 136 years would bring to the site?

He probably would have been surprised yet impressed by the architecture of the pediatrics ward, built in 1947. It is a registered historical monument, recognized for its Art Deco style:

Most of the 20th century wards, however, showed a distinct lack of style, making Combarel a place where old met new in an incongruous hodgepodge...

... yet where beauty could usually be found somewhere in the middle of all the concrete:

A few parts of the site, though, were hopelessly uninspiring. I wonder why and how anyone could build this type of construction just a few meters from historic center of the hospital campus -- yet someone did:

Then again, a few of the hospital's "horrors" intrigued me. What was the original purpose of the building below? And how was it being used -- if at all -- in 2006?

The Combarel hospital site was typical of the Rodez I discovered twelve years ago: historical yet funky, and somehow a little off-kilter. The new hospital in the modern business area of Bourran presents a striking contrast. Read about it in next weekend's post...


RennyBA said...

What an educational and readable post. You know I love to learn from others and visiting you is always interesting.
Btw: As to your comment on my Network and blizzard post: Of course you should chose Norway if you want the real thing:-)

Erica said...

Hi Betty C!
Thanks for your message on my blog. I really like the pediatric wards building, it's quirky!