The project revisits a high-rise building of the 1970s Tour Bretagne in the center of the French city of Nantes. The tower suffers from the problematic modernist creed of functional separation, which prevents the structure from being integrated into the urban fabric. The building is actually paralyzing the entire downtown district.
The scheme aims to transform the existing structure into a “vertical city,” filled with multiple activities. The proposed design deploys public space as a means to link the existing cityscape with the new public spaces of the tower.
Grégoire Arthuis thinks that consideration of existing structures and environmental performance are the starting points of sustainable construction. “Vertical Restructuring: High-rise tower rehabilitation, Nantes, France” was applauded by the jury for using a process of transformation rather than erasure.
The winning projects of the Holcim Awards 2014 for Europe illustrate how sustainable construction continues to evolve – developing more sophisticated and multi-disciplinary responses to the challenges facing the building and construction industry. The “Next Generation” 5th prize was awarded to Grégoir Arthuis for a high-rise tower rehabilitation in France.Read full media release – Holcim Awards 2014 for Europe » pour en savoir plus (French) » lesen Sie mehr (German) » más información (Spanish) » per saperne di piú (Italian) » подробнее (Russian) »
The jury read the project as a kind of manifesto that questions the tenets of the Modern Movement and proposing instead an understanding of architecture enriched by multifunctional relationships, social interaction, and spatial sequences. The project presents a strategy of how to deal with the built legacy of the post-war era, without destroying its substance – a process of transformation rather than erasure.
The project revisits a high-rise building of the 1970s “Tour Bretagne” in the center of the city of Nantes, France. The tower suffers from the problematic modernist creed of functional separation, which prevents the structure from being integrated into the urban fabric. The building is actually paralyzing the entire downtown district. The scheme aims to transform the existing structure into a “vertical city”, filled with multiple activities. The proposed design deploys public space as a means to link the existing cityscape with the new public spaces of the tower.
Progress: The project gives a possible solution to the problem of reconverting obsolete skyscrapers through the accurate analysis of the structures of the tower and needs. First, the idea is to empty the spaces of anything nonstructural. Analyzing the matrix and the distribution of forces reveals the potentialities of the building. The idea is to measure how much and how far the building can mutate from what it already is made of. This approach can easily be taken again when dealing with the massive constructions built following similar processes during the 1970s.
People: The project gives the tower a new connection with its human and built environment. Today, this tower is not loved by its inhabitants who don’t see its usefulness. Through this project, people will be able to discover the tower again. People will see the tower before, during and after its reconversion. Therefore, the community will grasp the usefulness of the tower, its potential, and hence, be able to take ownership of it.
Planet: The project aims to flip energy and space consumers which have been harmful to urban life into a new dynamic place. The creation of heat transition spaces avoids over-consumption of thermal insulation. The project provides an incentive for the development of mixed-use programs, based on the diversity of atmospheres, thanks to the potentialities of the existing building (ex: natural thermal mass cooling of the concrete). It creates lived-in transition spaces, naturally ventilated with a free access to the open air from patios and decks – and also re-links the inside of the tower with the outside for a better transparency and a more balanced way of life.
Prosperity: Make better with less. The simplicity of the materials and their implementation offers extra space and better quality. The funding is provided by the balance of programs in the tower and by stopping with the actual single purpose of the place. The diversity aims to divide the cost between different players (public and private) and let the tower produce enough value-added activities to financially balance.
Place: The idea is to offer the tower to the city. A new transparency and an easy reading of the building will lead the design. The skeleton of the building -its truth- is exposed and showcased in the façade. Indeed, all life of the building is brought outside of the core to be shown to the city. A truly vertical street is created, continuing the ones of the city.Download project overview (PDF, 1.83 MB) »See more
Grégoire Arthuis thinks that consideration of existing structures and environmental performance are the starting points …
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