academic views on the economics of construction french variations 1920 1970
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ACADEMIC VIEWS ON THE ECONOMICS OF CONSTRUCTION FRENCH VARIATIONS (1920/1970)

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ACADEMIC VIEWS ON THE ECONOMICS OF CONSTRUCTION FRENCH VARIATIONS (1920/1970). 1) Public housing of the 1920’s in France. Short presentation of early built garden cities in the outskirts of Paris : - Les Lilas (1921-1923 and 1930-1931) - Stains (1921-1933). LES LILAS.

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academic views on the economics of construction french variations 1920 1970
ACADEMIC VIEWS ON THE ECONOMICS OF CONSTRUCTIONFRENCH VARIATIONS (1920/1970)

1) Public housing of the 1920’s in France.

Short presentation of early built garden cities

in the outskirts of Paris :

- Les Lilas (1921-1923 and 1930-1931)

- Stains (1921-1933)

les lilas
LES LILAS
  • Developer : Office public d’HBM du département de la Seine
  • Architects : Pelletier (Paul), Teisseire (Arthur)
  • Ground area : 6 hectares
  • Programme and dates of construction (two phases) :

1921-1923 : 212 dwellings, in one- and two-family houses, (destroyed 1971-1973, and replaced by housing blocks)

1930-1931 : addition of approx. 100 dwellings in housing blocks (northern part of the ground area, still existing)

les lilas how it was built photo 1927
Les Lilas, how it was built (photo 1927)

Source : Henri Sellier, Une cité pour tous

(Texts presented by Marrey (B.), Ed. du Linteau, Paris, 1998, p. 118).

les lilas how it looks today spring 2009 projects of the1970 s instead of one family houses
Les Lilas : how it looks today (spring 2009) Projects of the1970’s instead of one-family houses
slide12

Les Lilas, how it looks today (spring 2009).

Garden-city spirit preserved …by private property.

Architect’s house (1933), at the corner of the alley shown in the previous photo.

stains
STAINS
  • Developer: Office public d’HBM du département de la Seine
  • Architects : Gonnot (Eugène), Albenque (Georges)
  • Ground area : 28 hectares
  • Programme : 1700 dwellings, of which 460 one-family houses and 300 rooms for bachelors
  • Dates of construction : 1921-1933

At the period it was built, the garden city accomodatedone third of the population of the municipality.

It still represents 15% of the dwellings in this municipality where social housing in a whole accounts for 69% of housing.

academic views on the economics of construction french variations 1920 19701
ACADEMIC VIEWS ON THE ECONOMICS OF CONSTRUCTIONFRENCH VARIATIONS (1920/1970)

2) Construction costs : academic approach of the comparison between single-family houses and housing blocks.

- The thesis by Henri Sellier (1921)

- The thesis by Claude Olchanski (1945) and what follows until the 1960’s

the thesis by henri sellier 1921
The thesis by Henri Sellier (1921)
  • A view based on a public developer experience.
  • At given volume and finishes, single family houses are cheaper than apartments in block houses (even including cost of public networks).
  • Therefore, construction in the suburbs has to favour a city of houses project.
  • Architecture and composition : reference to Raymond Unwin and the principles of garden cities.
the thesis by claude olchanski 1945
The thesis by Claude Olchanski (1945)
  • Economic denunciationof garden cities, « particularly expensive given the extensions of roadways, pipework, the large number of foundations, structural works and roofs ».
  • Therefore, construction has everywhere to favour housing blocks, whose « reduced cost [permits] to improve comfort ».
  • As for the cost of construction itself, assertion is only based on arithmetic evidence, without any reference whatsoever to observations : a very questionable approach.
  • As for the cost of public networks, another arithmetic evidence, that will become recurrent… but is equally questionable.
drancy what was built in between second programme by the office de la seine 1935
Drancy : what was built in-between(Second programme by the Office de la Seine,1935)

Source : Henri Sellier, Une cité pour tous

(Texts presented by Marrey (B.), Ed. du Linteau, Paris, 1998, p. 203).

and later academic views of the 1950 s and 1960 s
And later ?Academic views of the 1950’S and 1960’s
  • The Faculty of Law and Economics continued to crown doctoral works without these being based on facts.
  • The source of such an attitude is not to be found in the sphere of economic thinking.
  • References cited by economic authors prove that they matured their views under the influence of an understanding of modernity propagated by architects and town-planners.
  • The kind of profession of faith that held sway hereafter perfectly reflected professional interests of specialists involved in construction.
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Two opposite views : the first favouring the city of houses project, the latter favouring housing blocks.
  • The lack of factual bases did not prevent the latter from contributing to real effects…
  • …but it resulted in a gap between construction culture sought by the elites and the popular perception of the problem.
  • Similar gaps would undoubtedly happen if, for whatever reason, we once again cultivated views of project economics subject to a doctrine rather than to observations.
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