Author(s): GERIN-JEAN Fabienne, Architecte Conseil de l'Etat

Visiting, discovering

The 2013 « Architecture » days edition’s theme was : « Renovation and transformation of existing buildings’ projects (agricultural heritage, maison de maître, annexes and facilities)”. The visits were along with comments by different participants.

These participants have shared their experiences and given their point of view on the projects, telling their level of participation. Among them one could find:

The client (contracting authority, policy makers and programme manager) who could tell more about arranging, financing and planning of the project.

The prime contractor (architect, landscape designer, town-planner and engineer) who was explaining design, methodology and intentions behind the project.

The building companies (builder, craftsman) who built the edifice.

The user who would live, work, use, cross the place, wander around it.

Chosen site: Chauvray, Hervé Beaudouin – Benoît Engel’s works, architect and town-planner, L. Chauvac, L. Guibert and Babylone, landscape designers.

Chauvray’s town had become a conglomeration of heteroclite buildings where the street building was the most emblematic example. The idea of constructing the least and using the most of what the site had to provide lead to a city hall divided into three pieces.

Thanks to land opportunities two buildings were acquired whose a beautiful “maison de maître”, typical of the rural middle-class dwellings with its annexes used as barns.

Functionalities have been dispatched quite simply: the maison de maître for the administration and the barn as a wedding hall with a beautiful view on the ancient garden. The maison de maître has been completely rethought to receive policy makers and town council.

Between 1993 and 2009 a trustful partnership between the mayor and the architect has initiated an ancient city centre renovation policy. The rule is to reuse most of the modest heritage they have. With rigor and simplicity, music school, craftsmen regional centre, multimedia library and city hall gave spaces in the city to make it evolve.

- Renovation of heritage buildings