A heritage to protect

A unique heritage...


The building was designed and built by the architect Émile Bénard (1844-1929), Grand Prix of Rome in 1867. He was sent to the United States to study the recently built American YMCA buildings and to draw inspiration from them. He worked on the plans in consultation with his colleagues across the Atlantic. The first stone was laid on June 11, 1892. The inauguration took place on May 7, 1893.


For the first time in France, the architectural set, designed as an integrated whole, provided a variety of programs in a single location: a gymnasium, a running track, a restaurant, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, bedrooms, a conference room, a concert hall, a theater, a library, a pool hall, a smoking room, a music room, classrooms, and even… a dairy!



This masterpiece of YMCA architecture, a true reflection of the iron construction of the 19th century, was recognized in 1994, on the occasion of its centenary, by its inclusion in the Inventaire Supplémentaire des Monuments Historiques for “the originality and rarity of this social, educational and sports complex inspired by the American models of the YMCA“.


At 14Trévise, the use of glass in all its forms is quite extensive: glass facades, stained glass windows, skylights, and glass slabs. Its uses and benefits are mentioned in the American press of the time: “A revelation. It is a palace of iron and glass, perfectly designed and built for the comfort and health of all.” Emma Bullet, 1894

Salon André’s stained glass windows
A 70% glazed facade
Skylight day/night transparencies

Funding, design, construction, and initial management of the building were the result of a profitable collaboration between the French and Americans, initiated by New Yorker James Stokes, a YMCA leader and a great patron of the arts who loved France. From the origins of the project to the first years of the building’s life, an intense flow of ideas, men, supplies and money crossed the Atlantic: a true testimony to the French-American friendship.

... now threatened

With 127 years of intense activity, 14Trévise has undergone a number of changes that have caused damage to the quality of the building: disorganized partitioning, changes of use (the building was transformed into a war hospital during the First World War) and additions to the facades. It has also been impacted by several disasters: flooding of the Seine in 1910, storm of 1999, and the recent explosion rue de Trévise in 2019. And because of the economic constraints of the association, the maintenance has always been limited to the repair of damages, which explains the current state of dilapidation of the premises. These various mishaps have degraded its original state, threatening today the continuation of its use in good conditions of safety, comfort, and performance.