Le Havre, France

General Information

Regional secretariat

None

Administrative status

French commune in North-West France located in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region

Le Havre, the City Rebuilt by Auguste Perret

Registration Year

2005

Historical function

Outstanding post-war example of urban planning and architecture

Location and site

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.

Urban Morphology

The inscribed property, an urban area of 133 ha, represents a homogenous architectural and urban ensemble. It comprises large areas (principal axes, squares, buildings and significant groups of buildings of the École du Classicisme Structurel), but also the ordinary residential fabric (streets, passages, inner city blocks) created from 1945 to 1964 within the reconstruction framework. It integrates the île Saint-François (rebuilt at the same time by regional architects, not part of the Perret team), fragments of ancient urban fabric and isolated buildings spared from destruction (around which the grid of the city is reconstructed) and buildings constructed after 1964, the presence of which appears indissociable to the rebuilt fabric (notably the Maison de la Culture, the Résidence de France, the extension of the Town Hall).

The new urban plan follows two axes: the principal public axe is formed by the broad Avenue Foch, which runs in west-east direction through the northern part of the city, taking the alignment of the earlier Boulevard de Strasbourg. It starts from the Porte Océane on the sea front and continues to Saint-Roch square and the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, providing the general direction for the basic grid. At the Porte Océane, the avenue is crossed at the angle of 45° by the Boulevard François Ier, which forms the second axis. The Quartier du Perrey is on the seaside part of the boulevard. The Porte Océane is a monumental entrance to Avenue Foch and an entrance to the city from the sea, taking the idea of the ancient gate destroyed in the war. This building also became an experimental “laboratory” for the development of the structural system and methods of construction for the project. The Saint-Roch square is located in the place of an earlier public park and cemetery, which has given some of its orientations. The Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) is the most monumental structure in the whole scheme: it measures 143 m in length, and its central part is marked by a tower of 18 stories and is 70 m in height.

Perret’s project reflects his ideal: to create a homogenous ensemble where all the details are designed to the same pattern, thus creating a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk on the urban scale. The architect reserved some of the principal public buildings for his personal design projects.

Registration criteria

Criterion (ii): 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.

Criterion (iv): Le Havre is an outstanding post-war example of urban planning and architecture 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.

Photos

Contact

M. Édouard Philippe

Maire du Havre
Ville du Havre

1517 place de l'Hôtel de Ville CS 40051
Le Havre, France

(33) 02 35 19 47 29
[email protected]

M. Michel Sironneau

Directeur de Cabinet
Ville du Havre

1517 place de l'Hôtel de Ville CS 40051
Le Havre, France

[email protected]

Mme Sandrine Dunoyer

Adjointe au maire chargée de la culture, du patrimoine et des relations internationales
Ville du Havre

(33) 02 35 19 42 49
[email protected]

Mme Alyson Meziane

Assistante - Relations Internationales
Ville du Havre

1517 place de l'Hôtel de Ville CS 40051
Le Havre, France

[email protected]

M. Samir El Keria

Chef de Cabinet
Ville du Havre

1517 place de l'Hôtel de Ville CS 40051
Le Havre, France

[email protected]

M. Erwan Coeffec

Ville du Havre

+33 02 35 19 49 29
[email protected]

Mme Claire Baclet

Directrice générale adjointe chargée de la Culture
Ville du Havre

1517 place de l'Hôtel de Ville CS 40051
Le Havre, France

[email protected]