Secret History of Buildings: Maisons sur l’Agout

From the 12th century to the 21st, these colourful houses in the Tarn town of Castres have been called home by residents on the lowest incomes

A row of brightly-coloured houses lining the banks of the river Agout in Castres neatly illustrates the principle that historic buildings can do more for a place than merely attract tourists to it. By the early 1970s, the maisons sur l’Agout were the town's slum quarters, considered by many to be ripe for demolition. Their subsequent renovation and conversion to social housing achieved the twin goals of preserving an important part of the region’s cultural heritage and providing homes for local residents on lower incomes. 

The decision to use the buildings for social ...

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