Roland Castro, architect and figure of May 68, is dead

Roland Castro, architect and figure of May 68, is dead

Architect Roland Castro, in his Paris office, January 31, 2014.

Roland Castro, architect and former political activist, died on March 9 in Paris. He was 82 years old. Born in 1940 in Limoges, his itinerary married the torments of the end of the XXe century. Figure of May 68 and French Maoism, he will gradually refocus, always keeping his heart on the left, even in his support for Emmanuel Macron. His work as an urban architect is known for achievements such as the Labor Exchange in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis) in 1983, the University of Technology in Belfort-Montbelliard, the international city of comics in Angoulême ( 1990), the rue de Bagnolet complex in Paris, which includes housing, a media library, the hotel and restaurant Mama Shelter, still in Paris (2009), or even its remodeling of towers as in Vigneux (Essonne), which was to be delivered in 2022, or the restructuring of the Quai de Rohan in Lorient (1996).

Roland Castro’s parents – a Jew from Thessaloniki and a Spanish Jew – fled Paris during the exodus. Castro father, sales representative, gets hired in a porcelain company near Limoges, as a worker. Roland Castro was born there, shortly after, in October 1940. “Spanish Jews were not deported until 1943 due to an agreement between Franco and Hitler. [Les Judéos-Espagnols étaient souvent considérés par les Allemands comme ressortissants de pays neutres ou alliés]. But in 1943, that changed. Roundups affect everyone. And the whole village where we were, Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat [Haute-Vienne]protects us, said Roland Castro in 2020. I have a debt to my country, a debt to the Communist maquis of Limousin. They were wonderful with my family, with my sister and with me. We hid there. And these French were at the height of France. The headmistress of the school I attended has her name engraved on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous, Israel. »

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers An aperitif with Roland Castro: “I am a relentless laycard, I eat the priest, the imam and the rabbi”

After the war, the Castros returned to Paris. As a teenager, young Roland honed his political awareness. “In 1954, it was the beginning of demonstrations against the war in Algeria. I participate in it immediately. But I get arrested. » Problem: this falls right in the probationary period of the application for naturalization of his parents. “They were afraid of not being naturalized because of this arrest. » They will eventually become French. A classic story of immigrants and proof of France’s love for Roland Castro. “I am very influenced by the national novel, even if my ancestors are not at all Gallic. The Gallic spirit, everyone has it when they enter France: we become grumpy and boring! »

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