With the use of digital tools, future architects and young construction workers, side by side on a building site, contributed their small stone to the renovation of old homes.
Two dozen architecture students and building apprentices have worked together over the past six months in Lille. This simple summary indicates the essential dimension of the project:
it was first of all a human adventure, conducive to the discovery of unsuspected realities in the other, underline the young participants and their supervisors, Adrien de Bellaigue, professor at the School of Architecture (ENSAPL) and Jocelyn Gac, coordinator of inter-trade activities at the Maison des Compagnons. Of course, the operation also had pedagogical purposes: it served as a workshop-project for the future architects and as a concrete field of application for their fellow tradesmen. This project was technical, and even connected to new technologies, since it was a question of putting “BIM to the test of reality”. “We are presented with the digital model as an answer to everything, making it possible to anticipate the slightest difficulty,” explains Adrien de Bellaigue. Modestly, we wanted to look at what it was.
It was still necessary to find the experimental ground. The publicly-owned company “La fabrique des quartiers”, in charge of renovating old housing in Lille metropolitan area, which provided it: a so-called “1930” house, with two floors above ground floor and four bedrooms, located in the Fives district.
A test house
Manon, Lucille, Benjamin, grade five students at the school of architecture, say: “We found a building in its original condition. In analyzing it, we found that were differences between a survey plan and the building itself! Then we worked out a rehabilitation hypothesis that we modelled on a computer. We have been focusing on fitting a bathroom on the first floor”. The young tradesmen (carpenter, painter, electrician and mason, joiners, plumbers and plasterers) were involved in the design, as soon as the schematic design was established. Very quickly afterwards, a raised floor, a false ceiling, a beam and a room partition were made in Villeneuve d’Ascq, either at school of architecture or at les Companions. “What we drew was not always easy to implement.” Benjamin noticed. As for modernity, some elements of the ceiling were produced by 3D printer. Wood, wood fibre, Fermacell boards, in situ plaster were used. And the works were well and truly laid before the end of the construction site on July 3.
A collaborative tool
The proponents of the project did not have an obligation of result towards “La fabrique des quartiers”, but a duty to report. The works, however limited they may be, are part of a perspective to massively renovate old housing, an imperative for all housing stakeholders in the region. And BIM’s interest in all this? “The computer does not give all the keys,” replied the young site operators. For example, once our beam arrived on site, we had trouble getting it to the first floor. Architect and Professor Adrien de Bellaigue notes, however, that the BIM makes it possible to go beyond the plans, sections and elevations usually produced, towards animated documents, similar to assembly instructions. As for Jocelyn Gac, supervising the Compagnons, he sees there a good support of collaborative work: ” With this tool, a carpenter in charge of fabricating the floor could have a global vision of the building site “.
With Habiter2030, for a decathlon
The School of Architecture and the Compagnons du Devoir wish to continue and deepen their cooperation. They aim for a joint commitment in the “Solar Decathlon Europe 2019”, a European architecture, design, urban planning and engineering competition, in which multidisciplinary teams from numerous training institutes will participate. The two Villeneuve d’Ascq educational institutions intend to present a prototype project for the rehabilitation of old, energy-intensive buildings. The work carried out on the house of Fives this year is a prefiguration of it. Over the next eighteen months, other young people will have to take over and dig into the subject with a view to the decathlon. The whole process, including the work presented in these pages, is supported by the association Habiter2030, set up in 2016 by ENSAPL and the Compagnons du Devoir with several public actors, professional organisations, housing bodies, companies and students.