Only a very few examples of this extraordinary type of construction, conceived by Jean Prouvé onwards from 1944 in response to the devastation of the region of the Lorraine during the Second World War, escaped destruction in the post-war period. Jean Prouvé was doubly involved in the reconstruction program of the Lorraine: being himself from the region (he grew up in Nancy), and being the innovative constructor that he was, Prouvé received a commission from the governmental department, the Ministry of Reconstruction, to develop an emergency housing solution for the region.
Veritable feat in transportable and deconstructible architecture, Prouvé’s “barracks” were constructed using variable elements of wood and metal, taking into account the penury of available raw material during this period. The demountable dwellings, destined for villages whose houses had been destroyed by bombs during the war, were mounted directly on-site, in one day by three people following an assemblage plan of the pre-fabricated components, permitting the disaster victims to remain near their villages. The scarcity of resources, both in terms of raw material and funds, as well as the precedence accorded long-term reconstruction projects by the Ministry of Reconstruction, explains why this project never went into large-scale production. In 1947, Jean Prouvé received a gold prize for architecture and urbanism, the Médaille d’Or de la Reconstruction et de l’Urbanisme, for his participation in this project.