JEAN PROUVÉ
FEREMBAL HOUSE, 1948
ADAPTATION JEAN NOUVEL

FIAC - Jardin des Tuileries
Paris, Oct. 19 - Dec. 6, 2010

On the occasion of FIAC 2010, the Galerie Patrick Seguin is pleased to present for the first time, the Ferembal House by Jean Prouvé (Nancy – 1948), restored, then adapted by Jean Nouvel. The Ferembal House perfectly illustrates Jean Prouvé’s research on dismountable architecture and nomad housing, which started out on the eve of World War II and continued long after. These investigations took shape particularly through the design of the 6×6 and 6×9 houses, the Tropical House and the Ferembal House. This structure housed the Ferembal offices in Nancy and was built by the Ateliers Jean Prouvé in 1948. The bent steel frame comprising of five axial portal frames set on a pressed steel floor and held together by ridge beams, supporting the purlins and aluminum roofing slabs. The prefabricated double- sided wood panels used for the facades slot together interchangeably, like the winter garden and internal partition walls. After the war, Ferembal CEO, Pierre Bindschedler, who had been a member of the French government team in the Saar, supported Prouvé’s plans for the large-scale production of housing and public facilities via the mass production of steel components for a portal frame system. Yet, well ahead of his time, Prouvé only managed to make a handful of prototypes. Rescued from the demolition of the Ferembal site in 1983, the house is a striking and eloquent example of the technical and functional virtues as well as the adaptable capacities of this kind of architecture. In 2007, at the request of the Galerie Patrick Seguin, the architect Jean Nouvel undertook a genuine “adaptation” of the Prouvé building, demonstrating the enduring relevance of this practice. Originally a second-floor structure on a masonry base, the metal structure was given a new configuration as a one-storey house. Drawing on today’s technical resources, Jean Nouvel reveals and skillfully uses the structure’s inherent mobility by systematizing its modularity with piers of stackable Ductal blocks, a floor of removable slabs, etc. The design of a new staircase, in response to the decrease in the building’s height, is perfectly attuned to Prouvé’s underlying constructional logic.