Le Havre, the City Rebuilt by Auguste Perret (2005)

Back to index

The city of Le Havre, on the English Channel in Normandy, was severely bombed during the Second World War. The destroyed area was rebuilt according to the plan of a team headed by Auguste Perret, from 1945 to 1964. The site forms the administrative, commercial and cultural centre of Le Havre. Amongst many reconstructed cities, Le Havre is exceptional for its unity and integrity. It combines a reflection of the earlier pattern of the town and its extant historic structures with the new ideas of town planning and construction technology. It is an outstanding post-war example of urban planning and architecture based on the unity of methodology and the use of prefabrication, the systematic utilization of a modular grid, and the innovative exploitation of the potential of concrete. 

France 1958. Le Havre. France 1973. Le Havre, Sluice François I.

Auguste Perret (1874-1954), was a French architect, one of the most important pioneers of the modern French style. Perret was one of the earliest advocates of reinforced concrete as a building material; his apartment building (1902-1903) in the Rue Franklin in Paris was the first French residential building in concrete. Perret was forward-looking in his emphasis on designs that visually reveal a building's structure; his preoccupation with classical proportion links him with earlier architects, as exemplified in his Church of Notre Dame (1923) at Le Raincy. 

As director of the postwar rebuilding of the French city of Le Havre (1949-1956), Perret designed a gridlike plan that was based on classical proportions, with a broad central axis, generous squares, and prefabricated housing in a uniform style, clearly shown on the above stamp from 1958. The post-war reconstruction plan of Le Havre is an outstanding example and a landmark of the integration of urban planning traditions and a pioneer implementation of modern developments in architecture, technology, and town planning, based on the unity of methodology and system of prefabrication, the systematic use of a modular grid and the innovative exploitation of the potential of concrete. 

Other World Heritage Sites in France (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section France for further information on the individual properties.  

Back to index

Revised 09 sep 2007  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
All Rights Reserved