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Author(s): Cyrille HANAPPE
Contributor: ENSA Paris Belleville

Architecture in a time of instability

Through the Masters Diploma Studio, “Architecture des Dérèglements” (Architecture of Instability) (Cyrille Hanappe), and the 3rd semester of the Diplôme de Spécialisation en Architecture des Risques Majeurs (Specialised Diploma in the Architecture of Major Risks) (Cyrille Hanappe, Pascal Chombart de Lauwe, with Marie Aquilino), the ENSA Paris Belleville has been working for several years on topics in which architecture has been late in addressing: camps and shanty towns. while 2 billion people, 30% of the world’s population, live in informal settlements, very few architects are working on the form and technique of these living environments. However, they are an extraordinary laboratory for innovation on sustainable development in the broadest sense: energy savings, human scale, materials recycling, local democracies and economies, participation, etc.

Therefore, for more than three years, we have been working in the shanty towns in the Paris region, as well as in the camps in Calais and Grande Synthe.

The work focuses on several areas:

– In the Masters Diploma Program, the “Architecture of Instability” Studio is a “Design and Build” studio that is part of the “Spatial Equity” group. After an in-depth analysis of the identified sites (shanty towns in Essonne and Seine Saint Denis in 2013-2014, migrant and squatters’ camps in the Nord Pas de Calais in 2015), following approaches coordinated together with the residents and associations working in the field, after accounting for the “capacitative” abilities of the populations, students design and build dedicated small facilities:

– A bathroom and multi-purpose room in 2013, in the shanty town of Viry Chatillon (ENSA Bretagne with the City of Viry Chatillon)

– A shared kitchen in 2014 in the Murs à Pêche neighbourhood in Montreuil, in partnership with Ludovik Bost, Lecturer at the ENSAPB and the Quatorze (Romain Minod and Ruben Torres) and Ecodrom associations.

– A residence for migrants in 2015 in the Grande Synthe camp, in partnership with the association, Lieux Possibles (Célia David-Mauduit, Magali Risler, Ramona Strachinaru), local associations (Salam, Médecins du Monde, La Plateforme de Service aux Migrants…) and the Grande Synthe City Hall.

The Semester on emergency in the Specialised Diploma in the Architecture of Major Risks addressed the Jungle in Calais in 2015. Reducing risks (fire, flood, storms) provided the framework for the architectural work used to support the projects. Nonetheless, this work extends to a much broader scope, accounting for the sociological and architectural data associated with available resources, local economies and capacities, recycling, and consideration of the appropriation of land and buildings related to the personal development of the residents. In October 2015, the Specialised Diploma in Architecture students completed the first full written description of the Jungle of Calais and then a set of architectural and urban planning special conditions. The Associations working in the field were able to use these two documents. After that, by describing the existing state of the Jungle, it helps work emphasise the dignity of the individuals who were identified through the written description.