Notre Dame du Raincy

The Church of Notre Dame du Raincy is a modern church built in 1921-22 by the French architects Auguste Perret and Gustave Perret in the commune of Le Raincy near Paris. It is considered a monument of modernism in architecture, using reinforced concrete in a manner that expresses the possibilities of the new material.


Design and construction. At the beginning of the twentieth century Le Raincy was a small parish church for suburbs whose population was rapidly growing. In 1918 the abott of Le Raincy, Felix Nègre, proposed in 1918 to build a church to commemorate the French victory in the Battle of the Marne in 1914. Through connections among parishioners, Nègre came into contact with the Perrets. The design used concrete for economy. Rather than attempting to simulate masonry, the new material was used on its own terms, with standardized elements, slender supports, and thin membranes pierced by windows. The completed church received widespread favorable attention, influencing architectural thought at a time of rebuilding and economic recovery.

Glass. The stained glass was created by Marguerite Huré using colored coatings on clear glass for economy. The colors are dominated by blues near the entry and progress to warmer tones in the sanctuary.

Organ. The 1875 John Abbey organ belonging to the original parish church was moved to the new church. Changes made in 1957 changed its character, and a new organ is being considered.

Restoration. At the time of the church's construction, concrete was still an experimental material. Deterioration was noted by the 1960s, and studies showed that the original concrete contained an excess of lime and water. Coverage of the steel reinforcing was also deficient. Restoration work has proceeded, with particular attention to the tower, using more modern materials and techniques.

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  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov updated a digital reference
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