Cités ouvrières de Mulhouse

The Cité Ouvrière at Mulhouse is one of Europe’s outstanding model housing projects, one that influenced subsequent developments across the continent. It resulted from an initiative by young manufacturers in the city, including Jean Dollfus (1800-87) of the firm Dollfus-Mieg, textile manufacturers from 1746 and from 1812 owners of the coal mines at Ronchamp. Appalled by overcrowding in the city, Dollfus formed a limited company in an attempt to build good quality housing for the working class, a project that began in the early 1850s. By 1870 the company’s three thousand houses accommodated about a third of the population of Mulhouse. The architect Émile Muller (1823-89) studied English and other models and produced three basic designs, one of them a cluster (or quadruplex) house, similar to those at Darley Abbey and Belper in the Derwent Valley in England. There are similar examples in mining communities in Spain and the Ruhrgebeit. The earliest houses were built east of the Ill Canal. An extension to the west was a pioneering development in which traffic streets were differentiated from service lanes. Communal facilities included a market, baths, laundries, kindergartens and a library. It is a tribute to the planners that the area no longer has the appearance of a model colony, but simply that of an area where people enjoy living. The Société Mulhousienne des Cités Ouvrières (SOMCO) now manages 5650 dwellings. Guided tours of the cité ouvrière are available for visitors wishing to study the colony in depth.

Cités ouvrières de Mulhouse
Société Mulhousienne des cites ouvrières
20 Porte de Miroir
68100 Mulhouse
+33 (0) 389 - 462920