Context, memory and creation
Created in 2009 in the aim of mutual enrichment of teaching and practice, the partnership between the Vauban Network and the National Higher School of Architecture of Paris-Belleville (ENSAPB) has given the major Vauban sites the chance to benefit from innovative ideas from students on the issue of the future of fortified space in within the framework of the “Context, memory and creation” studios.
After a 3-day introduction to the site, the students put together a project during a whole semester in which they take into account the context, justifying needs in terms of construction, re-use and sometimes demolition, as well as in their choice of materials.
Anticipating the reconversion of fort de la Hougue
Thus, during the study of fort de la Hougue (2013-2014), the future architects not only used the existing buildings to suggest original development ideas and suitable usages (exhibition rooms in the bunker occupying the tip of the fort), but also the natural
and economic environment: A landing stage to strengthen the link with Tatihou island, an oyster farming centre in order to create a national showcase for the region’s main economic activity... As for the studios, the notion of reversibility is interpreted by a building’s ability to evolve to embrace new uses, extending its lifespan beyond its original function.
Fortified heritage revisited in this way reveals its full redevelopment potential. The studios gave rise to multiple and very successful uses. For the students, they were the result of their years of studies. For the site, this dialogue was just as instructive and revealed as yet unexplored possibilities. The limitations of the exercise became apparent in the short deadline allowed for the student proposals, as well as in the
human and technical resources required to process the results and present them to the public.