Espaces d’Abraxas in Noisy-le-Grand, France

In the Paris suburb of Noisy-le-Grand stands a massive, high-density housing complex sometimes described as a “palace,” known for its postmodern architecture often associated with dystopian aesthetics.

Named Espaces d’Abraxas after the Gnostic deity, it was designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, who sought to create an unusually palatial low-income housing complex, and completed in 1982. The design is simply astonishing, blending Brutalism with Greco-Roman style architecture, complete with an amphitheater-like garden and a temple-like gate, connected with many archways and staircases.

Notably, the complex served as a backdrop for the Terry Gilliam film Brazil (1985), which takes place in a dystopian near-future. It has also appeared in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015), the final installment of the popular young adult series, as a location in the (yet again) dystopian-futuristic metropolis.

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