The (re)construction continues

The completion of the reconstruction of cities after the destruction of World War II does not mark the end of all construction work in the city.

In France the reconstruction of cities after World War II was declared complete in 1958 and is marked by the name change from “Ministry of Reconstruction and Urbanism” to “Ministry of Construction”. In the GDR, a date for the completion of reconstruction was repeatedly mentioned, but never openly declared. The progress of the construction sites reflects a different reality. / A look at some spots in the cities may explain why.


In Brest itself, the reconstruction was considered complete following the building of the town hall on the Place de la Liberté in 1961.

Brest continued to be built, modernised and transformed after the end of the 1961 reconstruction, as shown by the construction of the University of Western Brittany, the construction of the “Dialogues” bookstore in 1976 in the former Monseigneur Roull square or the construction of the “Quartz” (1981-1988) after the 1981 fire at the “Palais des Arts et de la Culture” (Palace for Art and Culture) (1965-1970). 

Structural changes, such as the relocation of the military shipyards, also impose the adaptation and development of the city: the transformation of the Rue de Siam, the commercial port or the Plateau des Capucins are examples of this. In this context, questions of sustainable development of the city also have an important role to play, a point highlighted by the reflections of the UBO students of the Institute of Geoarchitecture on the use and the vegetation for  the inner courtyards  of the town’s  blocks.

16.1 Skyscrapers in Brest – a symbol of progress

The Queliverzan towers on stilts, built outside the perimeter of the reconstruction, 1951-1954 

16.2 “The Quartz

replaces the “Palais des Arts et de la Culture” after the fire, 1981-1988

16.3 Siam’s “lakes” – embellishing sadness

Marta Pan’s artwork replaces the rivers of the other time car with a water course, 1988

16.4 Destroyed public space or “dialogues” space?

The “Dialogues” bookshop occupies the space of Mons Square on the minor axis. Roull, 1989

16.5 The cable car at the Capucins

Innovative urban transport that creates the link to the Capucins plateau, newly developed since 2016

16.6 Bastion of contemporary music      

“La Carène”, a place of musical creativity, awarded the Prix Architecture Bretagne in 2008

16.7 The future of the city…. ?


In Dresden, for example, the reconstruction of the Semperoper was not completed until 1985. In 1990, at the time of the reunification of the two German states, the city centre was still partly undeveloped and unbuilt; in order to conceal this, green areas were created. 

The reconstruction continued after 1990 with the construction of the northern end of Prager Straße to the Altmarkt, the reconstruction of the castle, the Frauenkirche with the development of the Neumarkt and many other buildings and ensembles; it is still not completely finished today. At the same time, the reconstruction in Dresden has also been partially revised, and complexes have been transformed (Prager Strasse) or even demolished and rebuilt (Altmarktgalerie). 

16.8 Hidden modernity

The “identically” rebuilt Semper opera house with its service buildings in postmodern style, 1985

16.9 Transparent democracy

The Saxon Landtag, the youngest parliamentary building in Germany, 1991-1994

16.10 Behind the scenes of nostalgic desires

The reconstruction of the Frauenkirche, a memorial to the destruction since 1945 as a pile of rubble, and the Neumarkt were the subject of controversial discussions from 1989 onwards.

16.11 A fortified and twisted sanctuary

The new synagogue, a new symbol of the Jewish faith near the old site, 1997-2001

16.12 A shining crystal

An expressive cinema (1996-1998), next to the prefabricated buildings, built in the GDR

16.13 Contrast of two systems

Prager Strasse, a symbol of GDR modernism, redeveloped after 1990

16.14 The future of the city….?