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Old December 25th, 2009, 05:59 AM   #1
Jim856796
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Haussmann's Renovation of Paris

The Haussmann's Renovation of Paris was a work commissioned by Napleon III and Baron Georges-Eugene Haussman etween 1852 and 1872. As part of the project, wider avenues and boulevards, new lowrise buildings, two railway stations, modern public facilities, and more parks were built. 20,000 old houses were destroyed, and 40,000 new houses were built during this period. And the number of arrondisements in the city expanded from 12 to 20 and the boundaries expanded to where the peripherique boulevard is now.

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Old December 25th, 2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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... What is remembered of Haussmann is his work and the aloofness, indifference, and callousness with which it was accomplished. That he is remembered, albeit imprecisely, as the man who made the boulevards is therefore fitting. Paris and the Parisians have assured the endurance of his name as well as all the ambivalence that attaches to it. Haussmann's work has been metabolized by the city and its inhabitants and softened and humanized in the process. Haussman's Paris is an abstraction. The living city belongs to the Parisians who then as now have bent the administrator's designs to their own will and needs. He imposed a network of streets and boulevards on the city, created new neighborhoods, and redefined old ones, but the great city remains a city of neighborhoods. Parisians still ask which quartier one inhabits, and fix it in their mind by some monument and landmark. A parochial sensibility persists.

Pere Lachaise perfectly represents Haussman's reputation. He is prominently placed for eternity, amid ther graves of distinguished contemporaries, many now as forgotten as he. Visited without deep emotion, by very few, he is best remembered by what he did. Take a moment and look down on Paris from the cemetery. It is the best memorial.


("Transforming Paris", by David P. Jordan)


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Old December 27th, 2009, 06:04 AM   #3
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One thing: The owners of the new lowrise buildings built as part of the Haussmann reconstructions were required to have their facades cleaned and refreshed and probably sandblasted every 10 years. Is this still required today?
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Old December 31st, 2009, 04:58 AM   #4
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It seems draconian to do such a thing today but in the end Paris benefited from Haussmann's demolition and reconstruction of huge swaths of the city. Before that Paris was described as a dark and dismal place with narrow streets and alleys, and now is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:19 AM   #5
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The Le Marais neighbourhood is one area that was completely untouched by the Haussmann renovations. Were there any other areas untouched by the project?
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Old December 31st, 2009, 10:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim856796 View Post
The Le Marais neighbourhood is one area that was completely untouched by the Haussmann renovations. Were there any other areas untouched by the project?
Pretty much any big cluster without a boulevard or avenue was "untouched". The working class neighborhoods of Belleville and Ménilmontant in East Paris are such. It's hard for me to see it in terms of neighborhoods because I don't know the exact boundaries of neighborhoods since they are not hard-coded like arrondissements.

If you look at he huge area in East Paris contained within Avenue Jean Jaurès, the non-orthogonal Boulevard Sérurier, Avenue Gambetta and Boulevard de Belleville/de la Villette you will notice this. You can also identify the corners of this area because each corner or vertex has a Metro station and most of these boundaries coincide with a metro line underneath (2, 3, 3bis and 5). This is probably the biggest cluster that was untouched (well actually, just because there isn't a boulevard or avenue does not mean it was completely untouched as some orthogonal arterials denoted as "rue" could have gone through similar alignment and rebuilding efforts, e.g. Rue Ordener, Rue Lafayette, Rue Réaumur, which are the ones that come to my mind right now). The Marais as you say is definitely another example.

Last edited by edubejar; December 31st, 2009 at 10:51 PM.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:34 PM   #7
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The Haussmann plan should be used as a model to rebuild a city that heavy on slums and whose buildings are of poor build quality.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 09:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim856796 View Post
The Haussmann plan should be used as a model to rebuild a city that heavy on slums and whose buildings are of poor build quality.
But the success highly depends on the architecture that replaces it.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 05:05 PM   #9
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From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Hausmann's efforts were not limited to new streets and utilities, but also dictated the facade of buildings.

Street blocks are designed as homogeneous architectural wholes. Buildings are not treated as independent structures, but together must create — on a block, if not the same street or even quarter — a unified urban landscape.

The regulations and constraints imposed by the authorities favoured a typology that brings the classical evolution of the Parisian building to its term in the façade typical of the Haussmann era:

* ground floor and basement with thick, usually street-lateral, load-bearing walls;
* second, "noble" floor with one or two balconies;
* third and fourth floors in the same style but with less elaborate stonework around the windows;
* fifth floor with a single, continuous, undecorated balcony;
* eaves angled at 45º.

The Haussmann façade is organised around horizontal lines that often continue from one building to the next: balconies and cornices are perfectly aligned without any noticeable alcoves or projections. At the risk of the uniformity of certain quarters, the rue de Rivoli served as a model for the entire network of new Parisian boulevards. For the building façades, the technological progress of stone sawing and (steam) transportation allowed the use of massive stone blocks instead of simple stone facing. The street-side result was a "monumental" effect that exempted buildings from a dependence on decoration; sculpture and other elaborate stonework would not become widespread until the end of the century.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:00 PM   #10
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Very good job Jim as well that of Housmann imho.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 01:34 PM   #11
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I wish he had contemporary planners like him to have rebuilt many European cities in the WW2 aftermath in a new shape instead of just rebuilding with a touch of modernism.

Sure, the subject is touchy, countries were cash-strapped and rebuilding "as it was" in many cases were a way to promote the idea of "recovery" after doomsday. Still, I think many European cities would be better off if radical reshaping plans had taken place.

Rotterdam is the better example of the city that promoted the best reconstruction and redevelopment program in Western Europe.

As for Haussmann, he was a man ahead of its time. He transformed what would have become a cramped place like Roma or, to a certain degree, London, but poorer, and redefined the city in a very interesting way. Too bad the modernist renovations lose steam soon, otherwise we could have seen more bulldozing of dull old buildings and a complete redefinition of other French cities like Lyon, Lille and Marseille.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 04:33 AM   #12
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dull old buildings? I'd take dull old buildings any day over modernist urban planning today.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 02:20 AM   #13
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IMO: Paris got very lucky; brilliant style and brilliant execution. In general, large scale renovations are only good for the very poorest and most decrepit parts of town since they tend to be mediocre or worse.

Maybe we are lucky that most post-WW II building was in the suburbs, since the style is generally quite forgetable.
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