Postwar Residential Housing Landscapes in France: A Retro-Prospective Approach


  • Bernadette Blanchon Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paysage in Versailles




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


In the residential districts built after the Second World War, the qualities of landscapes are not, in most cases, taken into account in understanding projects nor are they considered as a resource in renovation projects except as a “compensatory greening” once the main spaces have been divided, privatized and fenced off. We suggest considering this residential landscape heritage as a potentially structuring one, through the landscape approach, based on three levels for interpreting space: that of the relation to the geographic and urban site; that of the neighborhood defined by its open and public spaces; and lastly, that of the materiality of places and practices. We see it as relevant since it is more global and adapted to the current context of projects.

How to Cite

Blanchon, B. (2016). Postwar Residential Housing Landscapes in France: A Retro-Prospective Approach. Docomomo Journal, (54), 72–77.




Author Biography

Bernadette Blanchon, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paysage in Versailles

(b. 1958, France). Certified Architect, Associate Professor at Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paysage in Versailles, and a research fellow at LAREP [Laboratoire de Recherche de l‘Ecole de Paysage]. She has collaborated with Bureau des Paysages, led by landscape architect Alexandre Chemetoff. Her teaching and research work focuses on landscapes in the urban environment of the post-war era. She has contributed to various publications, and lectured at international conferences and various universities. She is a founding editor of the academic Journal JoLA, Journal of Landscape Architecture, where she has been in charge until 2014 of the section “Under the Sky” that offers critical readings of contemporary landscape architecture.


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BLANCHON, Bernadette, “Pratiques et compétences paysagistes dans les grands ensembles d’habitations, 1945-1975”, STRATES, N°13 - Le Paysage Urbain: Genèse, Représentations, Enjeux Contemporains, Paris, Ladyss, CNRS, 2007, 149-167.

BLANCHON, Bernadette, DELBAERE, Denis and GARLEFF, Jorn, “Le Paysage dans les ensembles urbains de logements, 1940–1980”, Les Grands Ensembles — une Architecture du XXe siècle, Paris, Éditions Carré, 2011, 207–239.

BLANCHON, Bernadette, DELBAERE, Denis, GARLEFF, Jorn, “Modernscape: reading the unexpected diversity of open spaces in French urban social housing developments (1940–1980)”, in Ivan San Martin (Ed.), Living in the Urban Modernity, docomomo, Mexico City, 2010, (Electronic publication).

BLANCHON, Bernadette, “Public Housing Landscapes”, Landscape Research, Vol. 36, N°6 — Method and contents in Landscape Histories, (Landscape Symposium, Society of Architectural Historians, Avril 2010, Chicago), 2011, 683–702.

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