Frédéric Bouvier, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
A test structure for the forest protection against fire in the Maures Mountains
A Maures Mountains (Massif des Maures) firebreak is chosen as an architectural initiative. The project is twofold with this experimental ground for the forest’s defense against fire: it uses the current issue that is the management and the maintenance of the firebreaks to indirectly make reference to Harkis’ history.
Harkis are the French army’s auxiliaries, who were left alone by France during the Algerian Independance and massacred by revenge. In other words, we choose to compensate the history’s crushing weight by suggesting an unintentional memory instead of a voluntary one. The place seems to be perfect to unify these different requirements. In fact, Harkis, at least those who were repatriated in the “hameau de forestage” in France, were in charge of the development and the fight against forests’ fires.The Firebreak Garden (PDF, 35.79 MB) »
Four prizes were awarded in the Next Generation category for students and professionals up to 30 years. This category has become increasingly popular and seeks visionary projects and bold ideas, and gives young professionals public exposure and a platform to achieve recognition. For the first time in the history of the LafargeHolcim Awards, more projects were submitted in the Next Generation category than in the main category. The two top prizes of the European Next Generation category went to Poland. Malgorzata Mader plans to transform an old factory building in Lodz into new flexible-use living space. Jakub Grabowski won the second prize; he plans the restauration and adaptive reuse of a dilapidated historic building complex in Otyn. Anna Andronova from Russia received the third prize for a virtual model based on Kazan that aims to propel sustainability into the digital realm. The fourth prize went to Frédéric Bouvier of Switzerland. He proposed a structure that could help fight forest fires in the Collobrières region of France.Read more »
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.Read more » Pour en savoir plus (French) »
Rain water, a common link between a firemen cistern and a test garden to fight fire
The project proposes the construction and the supply of water of a cistern for firemen of 40 cubic metres working by harvesting the upstream water flow of the site thanks to “barradine system” (a kind of ditch constructed on the mountainside in a specific manner in order to collect the rainwater), and on the downstream section of the site by a streams spillway. 10 % of the annual rainwater (1344mL in 2014) should be drained in the tanks, which would be full in one semester. During the rest of the year, the collected water would be accumulated in the intermediary tanks, and then distributed on several mountainside terraces where different varieties would be tested. A forest shelter put on the cistern will welcome the hikers of the GR90 that goes from Lavandou to Notre-Dame-des-Anges.
A secular construction that brings us beyond the ordinary
This project creates a place that offers a possible silent mediation and a commemoration for these back-up soldiers who served France, but received until now a little part of the deserved recognition. The big gap between a purely functional building and a place for commemoration is done in a playful manner with a delicate wood construction. A sequence of simple pieces transmits, in a narrow space, spatial perceptions, which gives the soul the freedom of thought and answers almost fortuitously to the necessary technical requirements with simple planner means. The Harkis’ memory is indirectly put in place with an intervention that mixes integration to the landscape, spatiotemporal perception, and constructive formulation.
Create a fertile ground for an eroded firebreak
The ground of the intervention site is a ranker: a type of thin ground with a siliceous underground. The little amount of humus and mulch rests directly on the bedrock. The erosion of the firebreaks ground, void of any plants with deep roots, is blocked by the construction of restanques (a retaining wall made of dry stones). A complete fertile ground is recreated with first, reactive mineral substances, which would come from sediments and any other thin dirt accumulated in the decantation tanks of the cistern or deposited on the terraces during the summer irrigation, and then humic substances that will come from the weeding and the pruning of the mountain’s firetrails. Mineral and organic substances will intermingle to create the clayhumic complex: the basis of the ground’s fertility.See more
A fire cistern and forest shelter near Collobrières in France Spatial connects the territorial scale (mountains, …
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