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Assainissement district

Landscape - Pointe-à-Pitre

Located north of Hanne and Faidherbe Boulevards, bounded on the west by Légitimus Boulevard, on the east by Nelson Mandela Boulevard and Heroes' Boulevard and extending to the Miquel Crossroads by biting onto the “Les Abymes“ territory, the district of “Assainissement“ symbolizes the urban renewal of Pointe-à-Pitre and its agglomeration. At the end of the nineteenth century, the increasing activity of the city and the port attracted to Pointe-à-Pitre an increasingly large workforce who sought to settle near his place of work. The urban space limited by the boulevards and Vatable Street was no longer sufficient to accommodate the population. The plan of 1863 already showed that the northern suburbs of the city were beginning to form and the municipality had extended the main meridian streets of the old city beyond the moats of the boulevards crossed by bridges. These long streets called "suburbs" gave the site a plan sketch which was completed at the end of the 19th century by transverse streets. On this marshy area, the streets were laid out as backfill. Both sides were dug ditches for drainage of water. New city dwellers were obviously looking for the least marshy places to put their huts on 4 stones. Speculation, untitled occupation, illegal hirings of water and electricity-free booths have only accelerated the authorities' decision to put an end to these unfortunate practices and to launch a vast plan of redevelopment of these areas. The cyclone of 1928 gave the project a real impulse. So-called  “Quartier de l’Assainissement“ (sanitation neighborhoods) are the first results of these efforts. In 1929, Governor Bernard entrusted feasibility studies to the Public Works Department of the city. It was decided to fill the area north of the boulevards and Chemin des Petites Abymes, limited to the east by the recently dug out Raizet canal and the hill of the cemetery to the west, nearly forty hectares. The aid granted by the French colony initiated a program of great works and we witnessed the emergence of a new architecture, marked by the work of Ali Tur. Sent by the Colonial Office, this architect introduced the reinforced concrete, which he applied to all the elements of construction (foundation, columns, beams, floors, flat roof, gallery) and built many buildings in Guadeloupe, including several in the “quartier de l’Assainissement“ (district of the Sanitation).
This renovation allowed many residents to leave their substandard huts in outlying areas for new housing. The works were carried out in successive installments. Around 1952, nearly 20 years after the start of the work, about fifteen hectares had been cleaned up. The constraints of the illegal occupants and the difficulties of expulsion still arose. Pushing the boxes meter by meter, many buildings came out of the ground. The architects Guérino Diligenti, Gérad Michel Corbin and Edmond Mercier, still in the lineage of the modernist current inspired by Ali Tur, built several emblematic buildings in the neighborhood. The Grand Hotel (1948) became headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the work of Diligenti. The “Palais de la Mutualité“, which stands at the corner of Hincelin and Paul Lacavé streets, was built in 1945 by the architect Gérard-Michel Corbin, who participated extensively in the reconstruction of the district between 1930 and 1960, especially as a designer, except for the already mentioned building, 9 modern apartment buildings and several other public buildings. In the same period were built the “Eglise du Sacré cœur“ (Church of the Sacred Heart), the Bank of Guadeloupe, a lemonade factory, a clinic, a school and many private and collective buildings, including the residence Les Lauriers, built in 1971, also hosting several shops, then neighboring with the residence Ernestine Webbe and the Fernande Bonchamps school. The district houses today, besides the church and the “Palais de la Mutualité“ (Palace of Mutuality) in plain sight, several other public buildings like the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the headquarters of the Community of agglomeration Cap Excellence, three schools, the José Marti Center, the Rex cinema, shops and numerous residences that give this district a leading role in the economic activity and animation of Pointe-à-Pitre. Under the impetus of Cap Excellence, illustrating the desire of the joint authorities of Pointe-à-Pitre and Les Abymes to continue the reconquest of the city and the organization of public spaces, the district continues to modernize with a recent operation on streets connecting the roundabouts of Ignace and Miquel.

Gina Auto Pointe-à-Pitre
Allo Médical

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