SS Normandie: Trans-Atlantic haut décor

Perhaps one of the greatest liners was the Normandie launched in 1932 for the Le Havre-New York route of Compagnie Générale Translatlantique (or French Line) and the great rival to the Queen Mary for the coveted Blue Riband trans-Atlantic speed record between 1935-1938.

The epitome of French haut décor the Normandie was truly a decadent, luxury ship with Art Deco interiors and large spaces, not least the first class dining room for 700 which was illuminated by pillars of Lalique glass. Exclusive accommodation was provided by a number of large suites including the Grande Luxe Trouville suite and the rather more historic than moderne in decoration Jumièges suite based on the chambers of Louis XV’s mistress the Marquise de Pompadour.

Just two days after the start of the Second World War the Normandie was impounded by the US government becoming the USS Lafayette in 1941. Sadly she came to an ignominious end as whilst being converted to a troopship in 1942 she caught fire capsizing in the Hudson River and although salvaged restoration was too expensive.

These photographs are from an album of 46 photographs of the Normandie acquired by the RIBA in 2014.

 
Launched:  Saint-Nazaire, 1932
 
Disposal:  Scrapped: 1946-1948
 
Tonnage:  82,799 tons
 
Length:  1029 feet or 314 metres
 
Maximum speed:  32.2 knots

 

Also see: Ocean Liners, RMS Orion & RMS Orcades II, SS Oriana.

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RIBA4368Crystal Palace, Sydenham, London


RIBA4370Swiss Re, 30 St Mary Axe, City of London: detail of the harlequin-patterned glass facade

 
RIBA4371Swiss Re, 30 St Mary Axe, City of London: close-up of the pinnacle

 
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RIBA4373Mound stand, Lord's Cricket Ground, London: seating

 
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RIBA4379Swiss Re, 30 St Mary Axe, City of London, seen from the South Bank

 
RIBA4380Swiss Re, 30 St Mary Axe and Church of St Andrew Undershaft, City of London

 
RIBA4381Swiss Re, 30 St Mary Axe, City of London


RIBA4382Swiss Re, 30 St Mary Axe and St Andrew Undershaft Church, City of London

 
RIBA4383Swiss Re, 30 St Mary Axe, City of London: close-up of the tower showing the entrances, a series of high triangular archways cut out of the diamond grid of the facade

 
RIBA4384Swiss Re, 30 St Mary Axe and St Andrew Undershaft Church, City of London


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RIBA4388Urbis, Cathedral Gardens, Corporation Street, Manchester

 
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RIBA4392Imperial War Museum North, Salford Quays, Trafford Park, Greater Manchester: close-up of the aluminium cladding and the Air Shard

 
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RIBA4394Design for the Council House, New Delhi

 
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