jeudi 24 juillet 2008

# Visiting Concrete Le Havre / Auguste Perret & Oscar Niemeyer

Yesterday, I went to Le Havre in order to make a little photographic reportage within the city which was reconstructed after allied bombings in 1944. At this time Le Havre could be assimilated as the French Coventry and 10 000 new housing had to be built in ten years. Auguste Perret, who was already 71 years old, was appointed as Chief Architect of the Reconstruction and his office designed all the buildings which are now Le Havre downtown. In order to be efficient, every single architectural element's dimensions were according to a 6.24 metres weft. Thus, every buildings are 2x6.24m wide, every post is separated to another one by 6.24m, every window is 6.24/6m etc.
In addition of that, Perret wanted to build an huge concrete layer 3.50 metres above ground and to "lay" all the city on it because of the boggy land. Thus, all the technical facilities (water, electricity, telephone, car parks etc.) would have been put under this layer. Unfortunetly, it wasn't accepted by Le Havre's Authority.

Here is Saint Joseph Church, also designed by Perret and it is one of the crazyiest building I have ever visited. Thanks to Marguerite Huré's stained glasses and Perret's monumental concrete, I really felt like I was playing in Blade Runner !!! Unfortunetly my pictures can't really make you figure out but it's really really amazing !

The other very famous architect who worked in Le Havre is Oscar Niemeyer. Here is his building in the very centre of the city, some kind of kilimanjaro let down in Normandy ! It's called the Vulcano (you can't make it up !) and I didn't get the chance to visit it (every thing was closed for vacation) but the exterior surface is really fascinating ! Another superb concrete landscape in the city's core. Look at the styly gutters around the doors !

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