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In February 2005, anticipating its inclusion as World Heritage of Humanity, the City of Le Havre acquired an apartment in order to restore its original appearance and make it a showcase of the lifestyle and creators of the 50s.

Auguste Perret, a contemporary and master of Le Corbusier, enjoys the aura of a humanist architect who succeeded in lending real prestige to concrete, a material he worked as if it were stone.

La salle à manger de l'appartement témoin
Photo d'Auguste Perret
Auguste Perret

Mr Perret, Master of Concrete

Auguste Perret, a contemporary and master of Le Corbusier, enjoys the aura of a humanist architect who succeeded in lending real prestige to concrete, a material he worked as if it were stone. He then created over an area of 133 hectares the dream of every town planner by letting his style fully express itself. He directed the reconstruction of the city centre until his death in 1954 and left behind a masterpiece.

Auguste PERRET’s bold use of concrete. The varied colours of the facades and buildings are due to the different compositions of concrete.

During this reconstruction (between 1945 and 1964), the architect played around with this noble material using different technical processes such as polishing, chiselling, bush hammering and washing.

Pilier en béton dans l'appartement témoin
Entrée de l'appartement témoin Perret

A show apartment

The Perret apartments date from the post-war reconstruction of Le Havre between 1945 and 1955. The architect Auguste PERRET designed a new housing model combining comfort and modernity for the people of Le Havre. The Perret apartments were ideal. They were modern, with new equipment such as a refrigerator, gas cooker… But also because of the living space where everything was designed to optimise natural light in the rooms of the apartment.

Located in the famous Immeubles Sans Affectation Individuelles (buildings without individual allocation), it is one of the 350 lots that made up the first stage of reconstruction. One principle stood out most: the rationalisation of space. This resulted in a functional composition for the dwelling. 

La chambre des enfants de l'appartement témoin
The children's room
La Maison du Patrimoine au Havre

Together with the Maison du Patrimoine (Heritage Building), it is also the key to understanding the approach of the Master of Concrete. As such, a visitor taking the heritage circuit will see the subtleties of this architecture and notice its details (capitals, types of columns, building entrances, the work of the guard rails, the colour of the concrete…). 

It means we can rediscover talented designers such as René Gabriel or Marcel Gascoin, whose furniture has retained such modernity that their lines are still prized today and even provide a source of inspiration for contemporary designers.

Maison du Patrimoine181 rue de ParisLE HAVRETel. 02 35 22 31 22E-mailWebsiteLearn more

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