Author(s): Mabire et Reich architectes

Short circuit

The organic vegetable transformation workshop project is part of the research that we are conducting in our work on the relationship with the landscape. The latter should be understood in its broadest sense: planted landscape, urban landscape, economic landscape, social landscape, etc.

The common thread is the link between projects where contexts called for unique positions and formal responses from us, all accepting the complexity of each situation.

The transformation workshop is sited within a large project for the organic vegetable short production sector for institutional catering. A required point of passage from a mosaic of producers to various institutional restaurants, it is the physical component that represents the ensemble.

It is also located within the Jules Rieffel secondary school in Saint Herblain. The school is located on the edge of the countryside, framed by two structuring axes on the West side of the Nantes area. On a large lot, it includes a set of buildings of singular architecture, Oxford revisited by the French architecture of the 1980s. At the north end of the site is a Garden in Movement, started by Gilles Clément and reformulated each year by the Landscape design students; to the south is a boarding school surrounded by a sloping lot, the site reserved for the project.

The workshop is a protected process. The concept of a short sector involves the reproducibility of the process. Composed of modular or industrial components, the program elements are sited under a large roof, which gives the project its own site in addition to sheltering the components. In this way we wanted to establish a link with the landscape dimension of the site, as well as with the instruction conducted at the secondary school, to link the southern part of the site with the north, the Garden in Movement. Therefore, we deployed a large arbour, an object that combines Architecture, through its strict geometry, with the plants it supports. Here, the plants are braided willow, which evokes baskets, containers for vegetables.

We also offered the concept of short circuit on the project scale: the heat released by the processing area is used to heat the water, the processing water is UV recycled to be reintroduced in the first washing phases, which use the most water in the cycle, or to be stored for watering the neighbouring market farm crops. The wood used is from local species and the weaving was done by a neighbouring employment integration company, thus showing that the concept of a short sector also carries social dimensions.

Programme : Atelier de transformation de légumes bio