“Huts, Houses, and the Industrial Militarization of France.” In States of Emergency: Architecture, Urbanism, and the First World War, edited by Sophie Hochhäusl and Erin Eckhold Sassin, 176-205. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2022.
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During the Great War, Paris hosted an exhibition that forever changed how modern architects thought about residential building materials and construction. The 1916 exhibition of La Cité reconstituée featured full-size mockups of demountable and lightweight houses. Their inventors promoted these building systems as solutions that could speed up reconstruction in the devastated regions of France as soon as the war ended. Yet the strong backlash against this exhibition reveals that, at this somber juncture in French history, advanced housing materials and building methods had become tacitly linked to the autocratic wartime government bent on militarism and engineers’ relentless pursuit of efficiency.