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Old October 9th, 2016, 11:15 PM   #1
emperormadness
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Architecture of Le Havre

I tried to look through old threads about Le Havre and I haven't found any discussions about the current architecture of Le Havre's center.

As you may know, the city's old core was almost completely destroyed by bombardments during WW2, and much of the center was rebuilt based on Auguste Perret's plans in a modernist fashion, with reinforced concrete, during the 1950's and 60's.

What is remarkable is that the city was included in UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites in 2005 for the "innovative utilization of concrete's potential" and as "an exceptional example of architecture and town planning of the post-war era".

I admit that I've never been there and that I am no expert in architecture, but having looked at plenty of images on Google Street View, I find it hard to see how Le Havre is significantly more special than other cities rebuilt in a similar fashion after WW2 in Germany, the UK or in some parts of Eastern Europe.

I was wondering whether people here have any thoughts on the city's architecture?
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Old October 9th, 2016, 11:23 PM   #2
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Hi. I think the main reason that it is on the UNESCO list is due to the scale of the reconstruction and that the entire city centre was planned as a whole
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Old October 13th, 2016, 10:16 AM   #3
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I wasn't aware of this city's modernist interventions and although for the most part I believe post-war reconstructions and developments have been an unmitigated disaster for many cities, especially Le Corbusier models, this reconstruction in Le Havre looks quite acceptable. I think possibly because it still incorporates the old city plan and many of the buildings are in the human scale, as well as the impression of a typical French street-level neighbourhood....shops and wide tree-lined footpaths on the street, apartments above etc. Aesthetically it's still interesting in a not-so-plain 'clean lines' way. I'd actually like to see it one day now. Thanks for informing us.

UNESCO page
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1181
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Old November 23rd, 2016, 12:34 AM   #4
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I too have thought about this. It is not the largest such revamp of a city, the typical building that repeats itself throughout the new city is IMO not pretty at all even by commieblock standards... But I eventually realized that what Le Havre has going for it is that *at his best*, Perret's architecture can be astonishing.









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Old November 23rd, 2016, 01:56 AM   #5
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I love Perret's architecture.
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Old November 26th, 2016, 10:46 PM   #6
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From my balcony


IMG_7064
by William Willburt, sur Flickr


The hall of my building


IMG_7267
by William Willburt, sur Flickr


And my studio is ordered well.



But for me, some building can be destroy, like this, this or this one.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 05:15 PM   #7
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In many ways the post war planning for Le Havre was very similar to that of Abercrombie's post war plan for Plymouth; on both the scale of the post war re-build and also the radical grid layout of the city centre. What strikes me is that the plan for Le Havre seems to have carried out in greater extent that for Plymouth. In Plymouth a lot of post war buildings were drastically watered down in quality once the main civic buildings were built as money was scarce.

I certainly think Le Havre post war city centre is worthy for protection as it is representative of its time as much as medieval Starasbourg or Neoclassical Paris.
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Old December 4th, 2016, 09:46 PM   #8
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Before the WW2




[B]Before 2012/B]

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Old December 5th, 2016, 01:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnHavrais View Post
But for me, some building can be destroy, like this
This looks very OK to me. Actually, if commie cities where I come from looked like this, it would have so much better...

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnHavrais View Post
The part to the right, with the very short buildings, could go to make space for something better, the part to the left however is not that bad.

Interestingly, when turning to look the other way, it looks quite beautiful for me, at least for a new, pre-planned city built in concrete:



Overall, from your images and links, it does look much better than I remember it from my brief visit.
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Old December 5th, 2016, 02:43 PM   #10
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Old December 5th, 2016, 02:57 PM   #11
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^ nice, thanks
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Old December 7th, 2016, 11:09 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the replies, a lot of interesting and thoughtful stuff here! The point that Le Havre is representative of its time is certainly true, but one can wonder how it would have looked if Perret's plans had been used 100% in their original form (he could be wonderful at his best, absolutely).

In some ways, Le Havre is probably the opposite of Warsaw, which opted for a historical reconstruction of its core, so it makes sense to have both these cities on the UNESCO list as representatives of the two strands of reconstruction thinking that prevailed after WW2 (historical versus modernist).
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Old December 8th, 2016, 12:34 AM   #13
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Is Le Havre zoned or is it mixed use? I notice for example on street view that a lot of the buildings seem to have flats in the upper floors. In Plymouth the post war grid layout was very much zoned with retail zones, civic zones, and so on with not much mixed use. There is not much residential flats above the shops and all the bars are on the waterfront so the city centre is literally dead at night. They are only now introducing residential into the city centre, all be it student flats, onto vacant retail units.

As for post war plans never complete in full, Abercrombie had grand visions for Plymouth that were nowhere near complete.
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Old January 21st, 2017, 10:05 AM   #14
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The city center is a mixed area.

In the majority of streets, it's some chops in ground floor and some flats above.

For example, on the screenshot (where I live ^.^) it's some restaurants and others shop, and after that, only flats.


There are some office building in the city center, some schools, some parks like the city before the war.
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Old January 21st, 2017, 10:13 AM   #15
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The City Hall, Le Havre, Métropole de l'Estuaire, Normandy


Before the WWII




After the WWII




Now





google map : https://www.google.fr/maps/@49.49227...8i6656!6m1!1e1
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Old February 4th, 2017, 11:13 AM   #16
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Saint-Michel Church, Le Havre, Métropole de l'Estuaire, Normandy


Before the WWII



After the WWII



Now




google map : https://www.google.fr/maps/@49.49653...7i13312!8i6656
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Old February 6th, 2017, 01:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnHavrais View Post
Before the WW2




[B]Before 2012/B]

It's really sad to see this.
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Old June 5th, 2017, 04:49 PM   #18
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https://twitter.com/LH_LeHavre/statu...15881172979712



Chiharu Shiota installation in the Saint-Jospeh church.

https://twitter.com/exponaute/status/867356839888945153
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Last edited by alexandru.mircea; June 6th, 2017 at 01:46 AM.
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Old June 6th, 2017, 01:45 AM   #19
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Caucriauville (Le Havre)

https://twitter.com/renaud_epstein/s...61888611680256

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Le Havre, a short break built on concrete chic
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Old June 8th, 2017, 10:28 AM   #20
UnHavrais
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But it's not the city-center
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