architect: Lacaton & Vassal architectes

location: Bordeaux

year: 2017

The Transformation of 530 homes - Grand Parc Bordeaux by Lacaton & Vassal architectes Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin was the winner of the EUMiesAward 2019. The project saw the innovative restructuration of three big social housing blocks in Bordeaux, which radically bettered the space and quality of life of its inhabitants as well as optimised its economic and environmental costs.

The project consisted of the transformation of 3 social housing buildings containing 530 homes. Constructed in the early Sixties, this large building was in great need of restoration. The transformation of the fully occupied housing complex started from the inside, giving it new qualities: more space, more light, more view, as well as a better structure.

The transformation carried out by the architects gives all of the homes new qualities of space and life. An inventory was made with extreme precision to ensure that existing qualities were conserved, and that what was lacking was included.

The addition of big winter gardens and balconies extending from the existing façade gave each apartment the possibility to enjoy more space, more natural light, more mobility of use, and more of a view.

The small existing windows were substituted with large glass sliding doors that open onto the winter garden. The technical systems were also updated: the electric system in the bathrooms was improved, and the two old elevators at each stairway were replaced with a larger one. New access rooms were created, and the front gardens of the building were improved. All of the families lived in their homes during the construction works.

In order to reduce the length of these works, the construction used pre-made modules that were quickly built like scaffolding in front of the building. Prefabricated slabs and columns were transported to the site and lifted into position by a crane to form an auto-supporting structure. The in-situ concrete was only used for the foundations.The original windows were removed along the added structure in an operation aimed specifically to cure the gaskets contaminated by asbestos. The concrete windowsills were removed to open up the area from the ground to the roof, creating double glass sliding doors. The thermal curtains behind the glass provide additional insulation to the heated interior. On the other side, a light façade of transparent and corrugated polycarbonate panels and glass in aluminum frames was assembled and equipped with reflective solar curtains. Glass railings run along the balconies.A correct planning and organisation of the building project meant that the transformation took place in only 12-16 days per apartment: a half day for laying the concrete slabs, 2 days for upgrading the old façade, 2 days for adding the new façade, and 8-12 days for renovating the interior.