Ernest Hébrard

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Reconstruction of the Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian in its original appearance upon completion in 305 CE, by Ernest Hébrard

Ernest Hébrard (1875 – 1933) was a French architect, archaeologist and urban planner who completed major projects in Greece, Morocco, and French Indochina. He is mostly renowned for his urban plan for the redevelopment of the center of Thessaloniki in Greece after its Great Fire of 1917.

The majority of Thessaloniki was largely destroyed in the fire. The Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos forbade the reconstruction of the city center until a modern city plan was approved. He commissioned Ernest Hébrard for the work, which the architect conceived and developed with the aid of the Greek architects Aristotelis Zachos and Konstantinos Kitsikis. The plan did away with the medieval and Oriental (Ottoman) features of Thessaloniki, preserved its Byzantine heritage, and transformed it into a European-style city, with boulevards and contemporary roadways, squares and parks. His work is well known in the architecture schools of Greece. Hébrard taught at the National Technical University of Athens, but he was also involved in several other major projects, such as the upgrading of Casablanca, the reconstruction of Diocletian's palace at Split, and later the planning for several towns in French Indochina. He was appointed the head of the Indochina Architecture and Town Planning Service in 1923. He worked to incorporate into the French architecture being built there elements of indigenous design from the colonial territories of French Indochina, now Việt Nam, Cambodia and Laos. After his work in Indochina he went again to Athens and worked for the Greek state.

In 1931 he returned to Paris, where he died at the age of 58 two years later.