It was in the middle of the 19th century under the impetus of industrialists that the Société Mulhousienne des Cités Ouvrières (SOMCO) was created in 1853. It built 1,200 housing units on 60 hectares intended for workers employed in the Mulhouse factories. This workers’ housing estate was one of the first in France. The “Carré Mulhousien” appeared, a square house with 4 dwellings with independent entrances and a small garden for each. The innovation lay in the fact that open families could access ownership.
In 2004, SOMCO called on 5 major architectural firms, including Jean Nouvel to build the Cité Manifeste. It is built on the wasteland of a former factory, on the edge of the Cité Ouvrière. These spacious and functional social housing units are designed to meet the needs of today’s society by interpreting the original Cité and its specifications. This Cité reproduces a visual continuity with the 19th century Cité Ouvrière.