Tuesday, December 23, 2008
These strange little houses
So what are these strange little huts-houses-garden sheds??...Well if you guessed one of the 3 you would be wrong. In the late thirties and early forties the French government encouraged people to exercise, to get outside and take the sun and breath.In fact people were starting to see mind and body as something one should take care of...Anyway, on this little island just north west of Paris, all these little huts(about 250) were built by the French government, a kind of chalet. People would go to the island and rent these little chalets, and after taking the sun and stretching and swimming and basically getting fitter, they would take naps and rest in the cute little summer houses. All this sounds wonderful, an in fact it was. Wonderful except for one very important little detail. Asbestos! Thats right Asbestos... All the little chalets were built with this deadly fiber. Just to remind you what this is (The asbestos minerals include chrysotile ( white asbestos) and several kinds of amphibole. The danger to health caused by breathing in highly carcinogenic asbestos particles has led to stringent control of its use) None of this was known then of course...
So what are these chalets used for now? Well, just about everything, from garden sheds to little huts to weekend chalets. Thats right, people still use some of them as there little hut away from home...I photographed maybe 50 of these structures and I held my breath most of the time.So much for taking in the fresh air. One of them is up for sale. So how much is this deadly structure going for? Well the chalet and a little section of land will cost you 9,000 euros...Gasmask not included.