1922: Church of Notre Dame – Le Raincy, France
Innovation: Church of Notre Dame
Location: Le Raincy, France
By: Auguste and Gustave Perret
The Church of Notre Dame, located in Le Raincy, France is a monument of modernism in architecture. The church is made of reinforced concrete, and was built during a period of time when concrete was still an experimental material. The building is catered to economic recovery, and was built to commemorate the French victory in the Battle of Marne of 1914. The concrete replaced masonry, and brought with it “the imitation of ineffable space” . The building has four rows of tall, slim columns rising to a height of 37 feet spaced evenly 33 feet apart, and diminishes from a 17-inch girth at the foot to a 14-inch girth at the summit. The columns provide a more economical approach with use of materials, constant rigidity from every angle, gradations of shadows, consistency of silhouette, and are “best adapted for a member under compression” (Perrot) . The building is freestanding, which also minimizes the use of materials and maximizes economic recovery. The windows are made of stained glass, which have colored coatings on top of the clear glass for economic reasons. The windows are filled with blues near the entry, and the tones of color become warmer near the heart of the building (the sanctuary). The concrete used had excess lime and water, and coverage of the steel reinforcing was proven to be inefficient, which lead to major restorations in the building starting in the 1960s.