Qualified by specialists as an urban laboratory because of the coherence of its reconstruction, the extent of its perimeter, the prefabrication techniques and treatment of concrete, this architectural ensemble has become a true reference.
After Perret, this modernity continues with Oscar Niemeyer and “Le Volcan” (Theatre, national stage and a library considered one of the most original in France), whose soft curves dialogue with Perret’s orthogonality.
Jean Nouvel, by designing the Bains des Docks Aquatic Centre (an aquatic complex inspired by Roman baths comprising a dozen or so pools), adds a notable and remarkable architectural flourish to the Southern districts, the site of an ambitious urban reconquest in a port zone more in phase with its gigantic maritime traffic.
Nearby, the Carré des Docks, congress centre and exhibition centre mean Le Havre can be fully registered as a business tourism destination.
Opposite, the Vauban Docks (dating from the mid-19th century) have begun a second life, becoming, after their redevelopment by Reichen and Robert (specialists in the conversion of industrial sites), a shopping and leisure centre for a “shopping stroll” where you will find sixty or so trendy brands, related to culture, fashion, sports and household equipment, as well as a cinema complex (Gaumont) and restaurants offering “flavours of the world” cuisine.
In this same sector, a true urban vessel, the National Maritime College (Pacôme Bommier and Laurent Pérusat of the AIA Associates agency) stands like a figurehead along the Cameroon Quay. On the other side of the Eure Basin, the Digital City, Normandy Management School, Sciences PoAsie (Champenois and Associates) complete the new face of this sector near the station. Finally, not far away, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (René Dottelonde and Phine Weeke-Dottelonde) built on a backfilled part of the Vauban Basin, marks the entrance to the town.
Of course, Auguste Perret is the architectural reference of Le Havre because it is to him and his workshop (composed of a hundred architects) that we owe the reconstruction of the city and the recognition of UNESCO, fifty years later. But this momentum of modernity continued with great signatures, Oscar Niemeyer, Jean Nouvel but also with others, certainly less media, but very talented.