Auguste Perret


1874-1880: Birth of Auguste Perret, February 12, 1874 in Ixelles (Brussels). His father Claude-Marie Perret, an activist during the Paris Commune, had taken refuge in Belgium with his family to escape repression. Birth of Gustave, March 14, 1876 and Claude, July 16, 1880.

1882-1893: After the Amnesty of 1880, Claude-Marie returns to Paris where he creates a general contracting business. Auguste and Gustave study at the École Alsacienne, then the École des beaux-arts, in the Guadet studio.

1896-1902: The family business constructs several buildings in Paris (rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, avenue de Wagram…). Auguste marries Jeanne Cordeau, student at the École des arts décoratifs in Paris.

1903-1905: Construction of the building on the rue Franklin. The Perret enterprise moves into the ground floor. Claude-Marie dies in 1905. His three sons create the firm Perret Frères and devote themselves to the study of reinforced concrete.

1906-1912: Construction of the garage on the rue Ponthieu, of the cathedral at Oran (for the architect Albert Ballu). Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) interns for fourteen months in the office on rue Franklin. Auguste travels to Algeria, Morocco, and Turkey.

1911-1913: Construction of the Théatre des Champs Élysées, of studios for Maurice Denis and Théo van Rysselberghe. Member of the Cercle des Artistes de Passy, where he meets Apollinaire, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Francis Picabia…

1914-1918: Called for service in August 1914, Auguste is assigned to the 39th Infantry Regiment in Blois. He works in Luçon, where he designs dirigible hangars. The Perret firm builds docks in Casablanca. Vice-President of the association Art et Liberté, Auguste works alongside Amédée Ozenfant, Albert Gleize, Gino Severini…

1919-1923: Industrial hangars (Wallut, Esders, Voirin-Marinoni studios…). Construction of the église Notre Dame du Raincy. Travels through Italy in 1922 with Antoine Bourdelle: Genoa, Turin, Cuneo, Florence, Bologna, Rome, Naples, Pompei and Paestum. Develops the “Villes-Tours” (City-Towers) concept.

1924-1926: Founding member of the Salon des Tuileries. Construction of the Palais de Bois. Auguste begins his first teaching studio. Theater for the 1925 Exhibition. Observation tower in Grenoble. Maison Cassandre, the Chana Orloff studio. Competition entry for the basilica Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc in Paris. Paul Valéry backs the project.

1927-1929: Paul Jamot publishes the first monograph devoted to the Perret brothers. Artist studios (Georges Braque, Mela Muter, Dora Gordin, Marguerite Huré). Auguste travels to Egypt where he builds the Aghion house. Competition for the League of Nations in Geneva. Construction works begin for the salle Cortot, the building on the rue Raynouard. The teaching studio at the Palais de Bois closes.

1930-1932: Auguste directs a studio at the École spéciale d’architecture. Competition for the porte Maillot in Paris, the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow. Lecture in Amsterdam. L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui publishes a special edition Perret in 1932. The office moves into the rue Raynouard.

1933-1935: President of the Réunions internationales d’architecture, Auguste participates in the Milan conference, then meetings in Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Stuttgart. His plan for the Chaillot hill is abandoned (1934). Picasso, Matisse and Dufy sign a petition protesting. Meeting with Louis Aragon.

1936-1939: President of the Union pour l’Art, created in the wake of the Front Populaire. Le Corbusier and Maillol are vice-presidents. Lectures in Buenos Aires. Meeting with Frank Lloyd Wright in Paris (1937). Construction of the Museum of Public Works (Musée des Travaux publics).

1940-1944: Creation of the journal Techniques et Architecture. Member of the High Council of the Ordre des Architectes (with Tony Garnier, Henri Prost, Paul Tournon…) and of the National Committee for Reconstruction (Comité national de la Reconstruction). Elected to the Institut de France in 1943. Projects for the train station square in Amiens, for the airport at Marignane. Creation of the third Perret teaching studio.

1945-1951: President of the Ordre des Architectes. Tasked by Raoul Dautry to rebuild the center city of Le Havre. Construction of the Center for Atomic Studies (Centre d’études atomiques) in Saclay. Gold medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Gold medal from the American Institute of Architects. Perret exhibition in New York.

1952-1954: Publication of Contribution à une théorie de l’architecture. Gustave dies May 30, 1952. Auguste dies February 25, 1954. His body lies in honor at the Palais d’Iéna.