DENSIFICATION OF PATRIMONY

in Center region of France

WHAT

Master Final Project

WHEN

2015

WHERE

Loches (37),

France

EXALT ARCHITECTURE TO CONTAIN THE CITY

Two architectural proposals for a rational development of Loches City

Context

  • Loches City, located south of the Centre-Val de Loire region, is a Ville d’art et d’histoire and one of the Plus Beaux Détours de France. Since the 1980s, the demographic growth of Loches has slowed, especially following the cessation of Paris mushrooms production. Due to the arrival of rural elderlies who want to approach the nearby amenities, the population is aging.

  • People from Tours, the prefecture, who wish to acquire an affordable property close to nature also fuels this new population in Loches.

 

  • I managed to have a realistic perception of the situation thanks to many on-site trips and interviwes with the city mayor, users and stake holders. The analysis at different scales led to the issue which has been treated on this final-year project.

 

Urban scale

 

  • There are natural boundaries, such as the topography, the nature of the soil and a submersible zone near Indre river. Artificial boundaries established by humans like infrastructure, the Local Town Planning, the Safeguarding and Valorisation Plan have emphasized the trend of suburbanization. That creates a proliferation of individual houses which consumes space and limits interactions between the inhabitants.

  • Over the years, city dwellers thus seem to have turned away from old heritage. The town of Loches wishes to attract a young population to ensure the prosperity of the city center and its economy. But the dynamism of the city depends mainly on brief historical tourism. Therefore for other activities, local life is particularly dependent on Tours City.

 

Concept

  • The purpose is to inflect these trends by taking advantage of existing potentials and taking into account comments gathered from the stakeholders of the city.

  • Assuming an evolution from the past to new uses, the project proposes a new vision of the local architecture. By means of discrete or assumed interventions on different typologies, it presents a strategy in order to achieve a well-reasoned development of Loches City.

 

 

  • About thirty housings in the city center are vacant for several reasons:

  1. Housing units on the second floor above the shops are inaccessible from the street. Originally, most of the storekeepers lived above their trade. Over time, businesses have invaded the facades on the ground floor, at the cost of circulations.

  2. Lake of maintenance because of the high cost of renovation of old buildings in the conservation area managed by specialized companies.

  3. Owners do not live in Loches City but in Tours or Paris.

  4. Living spaces are too small: traders therefore use the floors for storage. Indeed the floors are included in the price of housing leases since they have no independent access.

 

  • Agricultural or free lands are gradually eroded by the multiplication of detached housing estate. Little surface is devoted to the garage for private cars across the city. This is why cars are parked directly in front of the houses and the collective space and limit interactions between the residents. As a result, many districts are outlying from the city center, mainly residential and without the benefits of the countryside.

 

  • Thus the expansion of the city is directed out of town and even beyond the ring road. That phenomenon accentuates the need to use a private vehicule to reach the different features of the city: there is no regular public transport in the city.

 

Architectural scale

  • The project deals with interventions that can be put into three registers that could be called three generics.

  • The first one concerns rehabilitation of abandoned buildings. Indeed, one of the factors of the decline of small towns is the fact that these cities are deprived of public services. The slogan of this type of intervention could be to ensure continuity by assuming rupture. This is what would give adapted qualities in a protected area, through an Architectural Charter.

 

  • The second register comes from an observation of the ancient urban fabric and acts as acupuncture interventions. By accumulating microsurgery actions on existing typologies, a new impulse, a new energy could be given thanks to contemporary tools.

 

 

Urban scale

Program, accessibility, adjustment to ways of living, community life, density

These topics, applied to two sites with standard contexts, tried to respond to the different issues of the study area: the aging population, the escheat of the historic center, encroach on farmland bit by bit around and beyond the city limits by multiplying detached houses and by increasing the use of private cars.

 

That type of analysis and interventions at architectural scale could be applied at the territory scale. An attempt to “Horizon 2030 Local Urbanism Plan” has been developed to respond to the statistics which provide a demographic growth of 200 000 inhabitants in Ventre-Val de Loire region.

 

Céline Coderch

Architect HMONP

Architecture & Risks Prevention

 

Tel . +33 7 87 03 32 22

mail . celine-coderch@wanadoo.fr

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Céline Coderch

Architecture

& Risks Prevention