Demountable houses

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First built in 1944 to rehouse war victims in Lorraine, these houses only survived the postwar period in very limited numbers. Doubly involved in regeneration of the region – as a native of Nancy and a builder of genius – Jean Prouvé won an order for emergency housing from the Ministry of Reconstruction and Town Planning. Readily transported and dismantled, his “shacks” made entirely of wood and metal (of which the latter was in very short supply) were a real architectural coup. The components were shipped directly to bomb-devastated villages, where they could be assembled on site in a day by three people, enabling the homeless to stay on. Unfortunately, the shortage of materials and funding, together with official emphasis on the need for permanent housing, meant that production of these transitional dwellings never got beyond the limited series stage. Jean Prouvé was awarded the Ministry’s Gold Medal in 1947.