Yes, it's a church !
An uncontested symbol of Le Havre’s renaissance, Saint-Joseph church is an extraordinary edifice: impressive dimensions and its trans-Atlantic style disturb traditional religious references, yet also make it one of the most remarkable constructions of the 20th century in France.
Historical events establish a landmark in all great cities. In Le Havre, Saint-Joseph church quickly achieved this desirable status despite its recent construction - the first religious celebration took place there 50 years ago. It’s true that the ambition prevailing its construction, during the feverish post-war reconstruction bestowed it with serious assets for deserving the role of flagship monument.
Obviously its resemblance with a skyscraper from a distance, either from the land or sea, a sight so familiar to admirers of New York, is not by chance. A truly votive work dedicated to the memory of the victims of the devastation of Le Havre, from the top of its 107 metres, Saint-Joseph celebrates the rebirth of a city which is France’s maritime gateway, giving this religious edifice another more profane vocation.
Approaching this daymark of hope, as though irresistibly attracted by its vertical thrust, the incredible architectural dimension becomes gradually clearer. As does the reason why this newly reconstructed emblem of Le Havre was listed as a historical monument less than ten years after its completion. Auguste Perret’s magnificent expression, at its zenith in this case, succeeded in giving the concrete all the nuances of a palette which was unimaginable for this reconstituted stone at the time.
Yet, the full extent of the shock is only complete when inside Saint-Joseph, when the complicity between the poet of concrete and the master stained glass artist, Marguerite Huré is revealed. With openwork on the eight sides, the lantern tower enhances the liturgical principles thanks to 12,768 multi-coloured mouth-blown stained glass windows which, in a carefully reinvented religious mystery, touches the visitors marvelling soul.