WIT Press

Post 1950 Advances In Floor Systems In France


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I. P. Cruz & G. G. Nieuwmeijer


During the Reconstruction Period (1945-1965) there were a number of developments in the construction industry. In France, the population of the cities increased and the old housing stock was modernized; various improvements were carried out in the construction methods and design during this period which was characterised by many structural innovations and the construction of multifamily buildings. New types of floor systems using structural components such as terracotta, concrete and pre-stressed concrete were introduced. These new materials and methods, using a partial formwork or without formwork, made possible the more rapid construction of higher buildings. This paper considers the typology of these structural systems and includes a selection of illustrations of buildings that were erected during the period in question. Keywords: floors, reconstruction construction methods, structures, materials, France. 1 Introduction In 1945 in France much of the housing stock that had escaped destruction was old, of poor quality and lacking modern amenities like bathrooms, kitchens and running water. During the post war period, the population of France grew from 40.3 million to 53 million and overcrowding was a major problem, compounded by the movement of people from rural to urban areas. To address these needs there was large investment in the housing infrastructure in the 1950s and 1960s. From 1954 onwards, new building projects were completed – les grandes ensembles – often supplanting as well as complementing existing housing stock. At its peak, some 400,000 properties – modern, sanitised, standardised and suburban – were created each year. For this reason this period is sometimes characterized as les années de béton.


floors, reconstruction construction methods, structures, materials,France.