As a consequence of the treaty of Frankfurt (1871), Alsace and a part of Lorraine were annexed by Germany until 1918. The
emperor Wilhelm I enacted Strasbourg as capital of the Alsace-Lorraine territory(1) ,
and decided by that way to make
of it a "show-room" of the german empire(2).
The city met a huge rush of Germans (soldiers - 25000, among them officers issued from the bourgeoisie -, officials, etc...) and grew from 85000 inhabitants in 1870 to 135000 in 1910(3). In order to lodge these immigrants, an extension plan was put in application, as Strasbourg did not met any enlargement since 17th century. The city area tripled (4) by the application of the urbanism plan conceived by the Alsatian J.-G. Conrath. This extension includes (among else) what is nowadays called the german district (or imperial district, or Neustadt i.e. new city) and also the Neudorf, the latter being located in the outskirts. The first one is mostly well preserved and constitutes one of the rarest (if not the unique) example of post-hausmannian urbanism that survived to World War II.
More than 6000 buildings have been erected during the period 1871-1918, among those, around 100 in the art nouveau style. This artistic movement lasted (in Strasbourg) from 1898 to 1908.
If the major part of these buildings are located in the imperial district, a half-dozen of art nouveau edifices are downtown.
(1) In german: Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen
(2) During the siege of Strasbourg (8/14 - 9/27/1870) around 1000 peoples died and (among others) the city library burned (one of the most ancient in France), the Fine-Arts Museum, set fire to the Cathedral, the hospital, the railway station, the prefecture. The invader, wishing to change his image of destroyer, began in the immediate future the reconstruction. en 1871, Theodor Fontane wrote in Aus den Tagen der Occupation <
(3) More exactly, it will grow from 233 to 618 hectares (cf. D. Harster in Dossier IVSMH "Ecole des Arts Décoratifs").
(4) cf. L. Grodecki Autour de 1900 (Bulletin de la Faculté des Lettres de Strasbourg, mai-juin 1968). According to D. Harster (ibid): 135000 inhabitants in 1895 and 178000 around 1910.