6x6 Demountable house, 1944
In response to an order from the state, at the end of the War Jean Prouvé began designing temporary houses for the homeless in Lorraine and Franche-Comté. Fine-tuning his already patented axial portal frame, he saw a quick, economical and adaptable solution as an urgent priority. The area of 36 square meters (388 sq ft) laid down by the Ministry of Reconstruction and Urban Planning —and later enlarged to 54 square meters (581 sq ft)—was partitioned into three rooms immediately habitable on the day of assemblage. This meant that these country families did not have to move while building was going on. Designed to be rapidly assembled on the sites of destroyed homes and, if need be, demounted and moved elsewhere, these veritable “architectural feats” were made up of light, prefabricated components of metal and wood. Steel, subject to strict quotas at the time, was reserved for the bent steel skeleton, into which were inserted simple, standardized wood panels. The roof was of bitumen-coated building paper. Jean Prouvé chose this constructional principle with a view to its application to definitive rebuilding.