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CATALOGUE POUR LES NOUVEAUX CONSTRUCTEURS
Auteur : Cyril Chabaud
source : diplome ENSA paris malaquais, 2013
Directeur d’étude : Valéry Didelon
Second Enseignant: Jean Attali
Partie I_le manuscrit
Partie II_le catalogue
“J’aborde ma profession avec l’envie de faire une architecture qui ne soit pas exclusive, au-delà de la production d’icônes pour les plus riches ou les plus pauvres, et qui au contraire explore le champ immense de l’architecture ordinaire. Une approche qui correspond à un positionnement critique en faveur de l’architecture moyenne, avec l’objectif de pouvoir ainsi en tant qu’architecte, “impacter” l’économie, l’environnement, la société.... de manière significative.”
Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, is a city of mud, concrete block and corrugated iron, built almost exclusively on one level, the rare construction of further floors still requiring the use of imported materials; Portland cement and reinforcement steel. This body of work explores the possibility of densifying habitat, motivated by the rapidly increasing sprawl at the city’s periphery, and by the many inequalities that emerge from that situation.
The relative densification of the city, forming part of the official discourse and diverse urban strategies, has not thus far been met with a concrete response, and it is clear that sufficient application and control for a top down solution are inhibited by a lack of resources. Indeed, the State, past and present, lags behind when it comes to public strategies of land control in the periurban context, despite the juridical arsenal that it has at its disposal. Whilst this is less a critique than a general observation, in view of the historic failure of successive urban policies, it is possible to imagine that the situation might nonetheless be approached from another angle, at an architectural scale. In this context, where a bottom up strategy seems to be required, it is necessary to invent and make available for use new models for habitation - taking into account economic, practical and aesthetic constraints - that through an accumulation might transform the city.
Photo depuis la grande mosquée, 2012. ©Cyril Chabaud
Tools for an operational architecture
With this preoccupation for “making available” to the city-developers of Ouagadougou, the project takes the form of a newspaper and a catalogue, with the goal of deploying mediums that are suited by their very nature to architecture “for the public” and communication at a large scale, easily reproduced and distributed in large numbers. The catalogue is made up of foldable model patterns, in the form of tear-out posters: a trick for the production and transportation of low cost models, once more illustrating the interest in deploying the appropriate tools for giving architecture an operational dimension.
Before conception of models, part of the work consists in an analysis of the minutiae of ways of inhabiting, and to compile on site a typological and anthropological corpus. This process was carried out with the goal of being able to establish a certain proximity with current ways of life. It is thus less a concern with types in terms of form, than everyday practice and use that constitute the true basis of the architectural propositions in this catalogue.
Axonométries et plans, extraits des relevés réalisés sur place. ©Cyril Chabaud
Nonetheless, the project’s true starting point is, in fact, a construction technique and its necessary continual expansion; from technical gesture to architecture, from architecture to the city, from the city to its territory.
The models proposed offer, as their original aspect, a basis in the exclusive use of the “Nubian Vault,” a technique originating in Egypt permitting the construction of floors and roofs on earth brick vaults without formwork. In a country where the monthly salary corresponds to the price of five bags of cement, and where wood is no longer available as a resource, this technique reveals itself as a unique alternative for multi-storey construction. It makes possible buildings of three floors, requiring no expensively imported cement.
As opposed to often ephemeral processes revalorizing traditional know-how, the Nubian Vault relies on an emerging market and overtakes it in order to become autonomous. Indeed, the technique has developed since 2000 by way of an association (AVN) that works towards its dissemination whilst overseeing the selfinstruction of masons. In other words, through the simultaneous stimulation of both supply and demand. Whilst AVN concentrates its activities in rural zones - where 80% of the population live - the development of the technique in an urban context represents a still unexplored world, with all the challenges of adaptation that that entails.
Couverture du catalogue, partie II. ©Cyril Chabaud
From the spectacular to the ordinary
From the moment when one can reflect beyond an extraordinary architecture, it becomes evident that the use of hightech materials and techniques - such as reinforced concrete - do not appear to be suitable solutions, even if only from an economic point of view. Also, whilst modernity is always associated with a technical modernity, and new technologies are systematically elevated to the level of solution in the context of “sustainable” development, this project proposes a counter perspective to the innovation culture in which we bathe, to rely - on the contrary - on a common heritage of less visible techniques, but which have nonetheless been refined and rationalised over time and are significant.
Coupe perspective, locatif moyen standing, 4 logements.
Photos prises à l'occasion de l'exposition New South à la galerie du Crous.