Entitled “firebreak”, the project proposes a structure that can be put to use when combatting forest fires in the region of Collobrières. Part water tank to extinguish fires and part shelter for hikers, the structure is additionally conceived as a monument to the Algerian volunteers who supported the French army during the Algerian War and were thereafter repatriated to serve as firemen in France. More than just a small intervention, the structure has a territorial dimension insofar as it is imbedded in an elaborate water collection system of ditches that mark the landscape.
Though highly impressed by the young architect’s ability to translate a complex set of ideas into a pristine architectural artifact, the jury argued that the project would gain credibility if considered part of a broader “firebreak” infrastructure along anticipated firefighting lines – rather than being treated as a singular and exceptional object. This said, the jury more than appreciated the structure’s construction and its representation by means of beautiful drawings. Something as mundane as a tank is here transformed into a poetic artifact in a natural setting, a “machine à émouvoir” that touches the senses, while performing an indispensable function – a “techno-aesthetic” object, so to speak.