REM KOHLHAAS/ OMA & AUGUSTE PERRET
Paris currently hosts an inspiring match of architects Rem Kohlhaas/OMA and Auguste Perret (1874-1954) at the Palais d’Iéna. OMA studios provided the complete exhibition design for the show celebrating Perret – one of the most important architects of the 20th Century.
Perret played a major role in defining an aesthetic of reinforced concrete. The son of a stonecutter in the Paris Commune, with his two brothers, Gustave and Claude, he created an innovative enterprise combining an architectural office and a construction business. Perret was a passionate reader of Viollet-le-Duc and a brilliant pupil of Julien Guadet at the Paris École des beaux-arts.
With the apartment building on the rue Franklin in 1903 and the 1913 Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, he began to affirm his role as an exceptional builder – a pioneer of reinforced concrete – and a genuine architectural theoretician. In 1923, following in the vein of his industrial warehouses, he created the église of Notre Dame du Raincy, a model of economy of materials.
His projects in the 1930s respond to a unique cultural challenge: the creation of a new classical order comparable to the orders of antiquity but derived from modern construction techniques. His order of reinforced concrete, first developed in 1937 for the Palais d’Iéna, found a vast field of application after World War II in the reconstruction of the city of Le Havre. The city’s inscription on the World Heritage List in 2005 brought public attention to Auguste Perret’s work.