julien beller artist and architect


by Dino Trumić

Mental picture of France is the same in the eyes of many people. It’s the Tower of Eiffel, it’s Gate of Triumph, but no one thinks of the suburbs of this city and the places where less wealth people live. Most of the buildings are old and they don’t look nice. But they are exceptions and merit for that goes to Julien Beller. Julien Beller is an artist and an architect who devoted himself to creating projects which help those one in need. His piece of work is Roms village in the city of Saint-Denis. He had a knowledge about issues regarding this population so he tried to find a solution and to help them settle and to live in peace.

julien beller artist and architectHaving previously worked with them before Saint-Denis on securing them place to live, he knew their needs and their situation. After they were thrown out from previous residence he was aware of need for urgent solution.  » There was a need for urgent building so we found place in Saint-Denis were we started building but then we had issues from neighbourhood place and we had to move. Luckily we found this location in Saint-Denis and we build place for them »- said Julien.

It wasn’t easy for him and his team. Budget was small so they had to operate with small amount of money on a huge project.  » We got a budget from city council. It was between 300 and 350 000 euros. We bought our material, we worked hard to fit all the pieces and we succeded in it » – said Julien. He also stated that the value of each individual home is not higher than 5 000 euros.
He had to think about security and to give them decent conditions for living. He said: « We had to think about electricity, that was our first task, then we secured sanitary knot for their personal hygiene, and we also needed to think about their safety so we left some space between houses for emergency situations and we secured fire extinguishers for them and with that we settled the security issues ».

In the village there are 55 families and he also took care of the fact that he connect people from the same region together: « We putplace for Roms together people from the same region so they can be together and feel like they are home. They also have TV and they can watch TV in their own language. That is good but it can be bad because then they will not be interested in French culture and language » – said Julien. He also had in mind that families with more members get more space and bigger houses, as opposed to those ones with less members, so they can have enough space for life.

He thinks that there is enough place for them to operate and recently they got a common place where they can hang out, study and do different things together.  » We decided that it will make general picture of the place better so we created this space for them and now it looks even better »- said Julien.

At the end he revealed his future step and that is to build better and bigger places in different regions for different groups of people in need and with his determination we can expect that soon.