André Remondet (1908-1998) was an active architect in France (metropolis and Martinique), Germany (Saarbrücken), Croatia (Zagreb) and the United States (Washington), from 1945 to 1998.
André Remondet trained in architecture at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris with Roger-Henri Expert (1882-1955), some of which he completed in the mid-1950s (École normale supérieure de Cachan, 1955; église Sainte-Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus, Metz, 1954). A brilliant student, winner of the First Grand Prix of Rome in 1936, André Remondet stayed at the Villa Médicis from 1937 to 1939. Turned towards the new world, he punctuated this stay with a first trip to New York (1937-1938) during which he worked in the agency of Wallace Kirkman Harrison (1895-1981), architect of the Rockefeller center.
Mobilized in 1939-1940 in the campaign against Germany, he then returned to the United States where he remained until 1944. Between 1941 and 1943, he worked in New York at Harrison’s agency. André Re Mondet volunteered in the Forces Françaises Extérieures in 1943 and trained at Fort Benning before joining Washington where he was attached to the French Military Mission (1943-1944). André Remondet took advantage of his American exile to further his training by improving his technical skills at the Structural Institute in New York and at the University of Washington, where he took a course in «Special Mathematics and Techniques of Reinforced Concrete». André Remondet then returned to Europe where, in 1944-1945, he took part in the battles for the Liberation as a liaison officer with the 5th Division of the American infantry, a commitment that earned him several military distinctions.
André Remondet’s professional life, like that of most of his fellow graduates in the late 1930s, did not begin until after the Second World War. With his brilliant curriculum, André Remondet was appointed chief architect of civil buildings and national palaces (BCPN). At the same time, he began a long and fruitful career as a teacher as a studio chef at the Ecole des Beaux-arts in Paris, where he succeeded Auguste Perret (1874-1954) and as director of the American School of Fine Arts in Fontainebleau.
At the turn of the 1940s and 1950s, André Remondet signed several medium-sized housing projects in collaboration with Jean-Louis Fayeton (1908-1968).
These operations are presented at the Exposition internationale de l'Urbanisme et de l'habitation (Paris, Grand Palais, 1947). André Remondet also participated in the reconstruction of Elbeuf (Seine-Maritime) and the Saar where he intervened under the direction of Georges-Henri Pingusson (1894-1978), notably building a new church and the faculty of letters (1951-1954, in collaboration with Richard Doecker).
During the 1950s and 1960s, André Remondet took an active part in the renewal of the school and university architecture, for example creating the climatic high school of Argelès-Gazost (1955), secondary schools in Guingamp (lycée Pavie) and Chantonnay (lycée Clémenceau), school groups in Pau, Poitiers and Plessis-Robinson. He also built several establishments in Martinique, including the École Normale de Fort-de-France. André Remondet participated in the general movement of industrialisation of school buildings since he is in two of the nineteen winning teams of the design-construction competition organized in 1962-1963 by the Ministry of National Education. The establishments he designs in Avion, Aubervilliers, Libercourt, Molingheim and Aubigny-en-Artois are part of the group order that follows this competition.
The title of architect BCPN is worth to André Remondet to be attached to the Paris Observatory, as had been before him Emmanuel Pontremoli (1865-1956). He built several buildings dedicated to scientific research, including the meridian circle of the garden of the Observatoire de Paris (1951-1954, in collaboration with Jean Prouvé), the astonishing observation tower of the Meudon satellites (now the solar tower, 1963-1967) or the Saint-Maur observatory and the Collioure parasitology institute. He also designed the nuclear centre in La Hague (1967, in collaboration with Paul Vimond, J.-P. Mariage and H. Cholet) or, in a completely different field, the French cultural centre in Zagreb.
While André Remondet occasionally tackles religious programs (churches in Plessis-Robinson, Poitiers, Pau, Bayonne), cultural (Maison de la Culture de Pau, Maison des jeunes de Gradignan et de la Porte-de la-Chapelle), sports (Avignon municipal swimming pool, 1966) and tourist (country club, holiday villages, hotels), most of its production concerns housing. Soon, in a context of urban growth, the massification of the needs of society in terms of housing and the industrialization of construction, André Remondet is working on city-wide urban planning and development projects: In particular, he is the chief architect of Zones à Urbaniser en Priorité (ZUP) d'Avignon, Cavaillon, La Défense, Limoges, Poitiers, Vitry-sur-Seine. In these same cities, as well as in Paris and the suburbs of Paris, Bayonne, Pau, Rouen and Rennes, he built many housing groups, some of which reached nearly 1,000 dwellings. A list of references drawn up by the architect in the mid-1960s lists 14,000 dwellings (completed, under construction or under study) that make André Remondet a major figure in the production of mass housing in France during the years of growth. Its agency, which is located at 79 avenue des Champs-Elysées, is among the most active in the capital. It attracts many young practitioners including Frank O'Ghery (born 1929) who worked there in 1961.
The 1970s were marked by his collaboration with architects Paul Nelson (1895-1979) and Claude Parent (born 1923). With the first, André Remondet designed the health centre in Arles (1965-1974, in collaboration with Paul Nelson and Pierre Devinoy), while with Claude Parent, at the request of the SNCF, André Remondet studied several operations which, although ambitious, remain all without follow-up: the redevelopment of Batignolles station (Paris, 1970, in collaboration with Claude Parent and Raymond Leyrie, not realized), Part-Dieu central station (Lyon, 1974, in collaboration with Claude Parent, Charles Delfante and René Gagès, not realized) and Dijon station (1974, in collaboration with Claude Parent, not realized); reuse of SNCF’s urban rights-of-way (Paris, 1970, in collaboration with Claude Parent and Raymond Leyrie) or railway track coverage (Paris and Bois-Colombe, 1974-1975, in collaboration with Claude Parent and Raymond Leyrie); construction of an office tower at Austerlitz station (Paris, 1971-1972, in collaboration with Claude Parent and Raymond Leyrie, not realized). If their project for the town hall of La Baule (1974, in collaboration with Claude Parent, not realized) does not take the path of concretization either, André Remondet and Claude Parent jointly set up the Paris headquarters of the Social Affairs Department of the Ministry of Health (1971-1975).
In 1980, André Remondet was elected to the Academy of Fine Arts where he succeeded Urbain Cassan (1890-1979) to the fifth chair of the architecture section. His last major achievement was the French embassy in Washington (1982-1984, in collaboration with George Hyman).
- AM Arles M 65.
- Centre d'archives d'architecture du XXe siècle, Fonds Nikos Chatzidakis, Fonds Jean-Louis Fayeton, Fonds Paul Herbé, Fonds Emile Aillaud, Fonds Eugène Beaudouin, Fonds Henry Bernard, Fonds Paul Bigot, Fonds Joseph Bukiet, Fonds Dumail Félix, Fonds Roger-Henri Expert, André Hermant Fonds, Jacques Kalisz Fonds, Pierre Vago Fonds, François Vitale Fonds.
- Davoigneau Jean, Le Guet-Tully Françoise, “The inventory and heritage of astronomy. The example of meridian circles and their shelters”, In-Situ, no. 6, September 2005.
- Monnier Gérard (dir.), ABRAM Joseph, L'architecture moderne en France. Tome 2: du chaos à la croissance (1940-1966), Paris, Picard, 1999.
- Resendiz-Vazquez Aleyda, the industrialization of building. Le cas de la préfabrication dans la construction scolaire en France (1951-1973), PhD thesis under the direction of Sabine Barles and André Guillerme, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris, 2010.
- L'Architecture d'Hui n°30 (1950), no. 32 (1950), no. 34 (1951), no. 45 (1952), no. 47 (1953), no. 53 (1954), no. 57 (1954), no. 58 (1955), no. 77 (1958), no. 113-114 (1964), no. 133 (1967), no. 150 (1970).
- Remondet André, Aubin Tony, Speech delivered at the reception of André Remondet at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Institut de France, 1980.
- Mérimée, Ministry of Culture.
- Archiwebture, Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine.