Monday, December 10, 2012

Wartime Industrialization: The Housing Problem

Wars often require various factories to produce the necessary war machines for a country to compete in their war. But what happens after the wars are over, and the weapon factories are no longer needed? France, as well as many other countries, experienced this slow down in manufacturing when both World Wars ended. Armament factories benefit no country when they are not needed.

                As it was, France in particular suffered from this problem when World War II ended. Their armament factories had over produced and shortages in other areas were popping up all over the place. France experienced huge shortages in housing and in schools. They needed a solution to their manufacturing problems that would also solve their housing shortage.

                With industrialization of many countries occurring in the mid 19th century, many architects began fabricating pieces for houses in various factories. During World War One, and the years thereafter, many architects like Le Corbrusier, Walter Gropius, and Richard Buckminster Fuller had taken full advantage of industrialized fabrication of homes inside otherwise vacant factories.

                With other architects as precedents in the industrialized housing field, France sought out Jean Prouve through Aluminum Francais to build homes for war victims of France in the now useless armament factories of World War II.

                Jean Prouve was the best man for the job as he began his early work as an industrialized metal worker in Nancy. Prouve, along with the collaboration of Aluminum Francais, began to fabricate the war victim homes after the contract was given to Prouve in 1944. Prouve worked with other firms to fabricate these new homes, and over the entire fabrication period they managed to turn out 400 homes.

                It is believed that this push from France to utilize its War factories as a means to fabricate necessary buildings in France was a huge influence on Jean Prouve as he took on his own post war factory in Maxeville where he fabricated many of is great buildings.


Botti, Andrea. "The work of Jean Prouvé and its infuence on contemporary architecture of the late 20th century ." Edinburgh School of Architecture.
Sulzer, Peter. Jean Prouve Complete Works 1944-1954. Vol. 3. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhauser, 2005.

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