Tagged: France

Modernism and a 500 Year Anniversary in Le Havre, France

Auguste Perret's Modernist Development
Mixed-use buildings with residential towers overlooking Place Auguste Perret

A modernist city designed by Le Corbusier’s mentor, Auguste Perret, sits on the coast of Normandy. Le Havre’s concrete origins date to September 1944, when the British bombed the German-occupied city’s coastal plain. The assault almost completely destroyed the district and killed more than 5,000 people.


Le Havre in January 1945
The commercial core of Le Havre in January 1945
(Image source: stitched panorama from the UNESCO Nomination, “Le Havre, the city rebuilt by Auguste Perret.”)

Rather than abandon the port city, the French government began planning for its reconstruction after liberation. From 1945 until 1964, the city’s core was totally reworked by a team assembled by Perret, yielding the singular city seen today. As with many modernist and brutalist developments, Le Havre fell out of favor towards the end of the 20th century before finding admirers in recent years. Perhaps the pinnacle of this recognition is the listing of the urban core as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2005. The designation recognizes the modernist area, with its standouts like Perret’s own Église Saint-Joseph and later structures like Oscar Niemeyer’s spectacular Maison de la Culture.

Now the city celebrates its concrete past and present, but this year it is also commemorating its 500th anniversary with more than a dozen art and architectural works installed as part of “A Summer in Le Havre.”

Earlier this month, I made a two-day visit to the city on behalf of Atout France and used my free time to visit some of the essential buildings of the reconstruction and the anniversary installations. I will publish additional images from the visit later, but these photographs are among my favorites.


Auguste Perret's St. Joseph's Church
Auguste Perret’s Église Saint-Joseph

Auguste Perret's St. Joseph's Church
Auguste Perret’s Église Saint-Joseph interior with Chiharu Shiota’s Accumulation of Power

Oscar Niemeyer's Maison de la Culture du Havre (Le Vulcan)
Oscar Niemeyer’s Maison de la Culture du Havre, now called “Le Vulcan”

Bibliothèque Oscar Niemeyer
Bibliothèque Oscar Niemeyer, originally the smaller theater from the Maison de la Culture du Havre complex

Oscar Niemeyer, Renovation by Sogno Architecture
Interior of Bibliothèque Oscar Niemeyer, renovation by Sogno Architecture

Auguste Perret's Le Havre City Hall Auguste Perret's Modernist Development
The Le Havre city hall tower and a mixed-use building with the Saturday market in the foreground

Auguste Perret's Apartment Building
Interior of a residential tower model apartment with period furniture

Auguste Perret's Modernist Development
Looking south down Rue de Paris towards Vincent Ganivet’s Catène de Containers

Vincent Ganivet's Shipping Container Sculpture
Vincent Ganivet’s Catène de Containers

Lang and Baumann's La Porte Océane
Lang and Baumann’s UP#3, La Porte Océane

In Her Cabana
A resident in her cabana with Karel Martens’ Colors on the Beach

In Their Cabana
In their cabana with Karel Martens’ Colors on the Beach

Le Havre Skate Park
The Le Havre Skate Park

Special thanks go to Eric Baudet and Atout France.

2016 in Review: Nearly As Much There As Here

2016 was another year of travel, but unlike previous years, my explorations were more international than domestic: for more than two months I made work in Belgium, Ethiopia, France, Ireland, Japan, Northern Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates.

One month of that period was for a residency in the North of France and Belgium. The residency, “Resilient Images,” is a joint program launched by the Hyde Park Art Center and the Centre régional de la photographie Nord—Pas-de-Calais and supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the French Embassy, and Institut Français. I will be writing more about my project in a few months, but if you’re interested in learning a little more about what I’m doing in the North, you can read a little more about it in this short interview. The rest of the summer, I continued my project about Eleventh Night and the Twelfth in Belfast, photographed in Tōhoku and showed photographs at Gallery Tanto Tempo in Japan, toured Ethiopia with friends, and visited with guest workers in Dubai.

But I also did some domestic travel, including for a show in Buffalo, New York at Dennis Maher’s incomparable Fargo House and a screening of scenes from The Area at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Mobile Design Box in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I also made brief visits to the area around Louisville, Kentucky and New Orleans, Louisiana. Of course, I spent plenty of time in Chicago, Illinois and Minneapolis, Minnesota, which finally feels like home.

The other big project news is that after nearly five years, The Area is swiftly moving towards completion with Scrappers Film Group after a party and fundraiser in December. “Thank you,” everyone who attended and contributed!

I can’t possibly do justice to the places I visited in this short post, but I’ve included links to locations for which I made blog posts, and posted a few photographs from each site. If I authored a blog post about a particular visit, the section title is a link to the post.

To 2017! It’s going to be a busy one, isn’t it?

Resilient Images Residency in Hauts-de-France, France

Watching, Power Plant
Residents calling for their dog from their street.

Gathering to Depart
ATV riders gather to move from one part of a slag heap to another.


Coal cars displayed in former mining towns.

Belgium

Playing Soccer in Molenbeek
Young immigrants play soccer in Brussels’ Molenbeek neighborhood.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Igniting the Children's Bonfire
Shankill neighborhood residents ignite their children’s bonfire.

Tōhoku, Japan

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Post-tsunami and radiation contamination remediation in downtown Tomioka.

The “Jungle,” Calais, France

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The formal and informal Calais “Jungle” camps before demolition.

Ethiopia

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Two boys look down to their village in rural Tigray.

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A minibus stop and an outdoor pool hall in Addis Ababa.

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The Church of St. George in Lalibela.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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Scrappers remove kitchen counters from a partially demolished house.

Trucks
A small sample of the variety of modified truck designs in sand parking lots.

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Two Pakistani guest workers and the largest Tim Horton’s advertisement I’ve ever seen.

Buffalo, New York

Buffalo Telescope Houses
Six new telescope house photographs I made while visiting for my exhibition.

Chicago, Illinois

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The beginning of the Scrappers Film Group party and fundraiser for The Area at Lost Arts.

Leaning
A leaning, isolated building near the former United States Steel South Works site.

Louisville, Kentucky

Overlooking the Ohio River
Overlooking the Ohio River and Louisville, Kentucky from Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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A major clean-up effort in a North Side neighborhood.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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The Minnehaha Free Space before it was displaced by a new landlord.

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A former entry area of the Minneapolis Scottish Rite Temple.

New Orleans, Louisiana

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Four teenagers posing outside a corner store in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Rural Minnesota

National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna
Louis Sullivan’s National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna.

Rural Wisconsin

Woodside Place
A former church in St. Croix.