The Familistère Guise, Guise, Picardy, France

French cast-iron stove manufacturer Jean-Baptiste André Godin was a life-long believer in worker’s rights and when he got the chance to provide his factory workers with a radical new model of labor he went all in and created the Familistère de Guise, a self-contained housing complex that promoted social cooperation among its residents.

The main structure of the Familistère was the large tri-section residential buildings. They consisted of three, simple, square blocks connected at the corners with four floors of apartments all surrounding a central courtyard which was itself covered with a glass skylight.

The large open area in each building was used as a recreational area for the children of the workers. Across from the apartments was a theater, a pool, and other facilities that were open to the residents. There was also a building that contained a small selection of shops for everyday needs. All of this was located within spitting distance of the factory where they worked.

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