Monday October 15th, 2018
The ABC concept: architecture that promotes community living
ABC came from Bouygues Construction Research and Development, in partnership with Valode & Pistre architects. It aims to promote self-sufficiency in water and energy, and seeks to optimise waste disposal. We met with Denis Valode, co-founder of Valode & Pistre architects.
How do you characterise the ABC concept (Autonomous Building for Citizens)?
Denis Valode: ABC combines technological, architectural and sociological goals by looking for ways to make buildings self-sufficient in water and energy and optimise waste disposal; involving residents at the heart of the energy performance project and taking their expectations into account to encourage social interactions; and developing industrialised and standardised construction methods that are more energy efficient, within the “zero carbon” framework.
EcoCité Grenoble Presqu’île is the first example of the ABC concept. According to you, what role does architecture play in the residents’ quality of life?
Denis Valode: The goal of ABC is to create housing that improves the way we live together and is in harmony with the environment. In this 62-apartment residential block, each architectural solution is evaluated in terms of its social value and designed to facilitate the appropriation of the site, to make users care more about their environment (follow-up and monitoring of the energy consumption, weighing household waste, etc.), encourage social ties (shared vegetable & other gardens, multi-purpose room, etc.) and adapt to the new kinds of urban lifestyles (shared soft mobility room, balconies in each housing unit, etc.).
What is its main architectural innovation?
Denis Valode: Buildings have always been designed as a barrier from the environment to
protect us from rain, sun and wind. ABC introduces a new paradigm: now, buildings
take advantage of these components to capture the rays of the sun, collect rainwater and generate the energy necessary to their operation. This orientation shows the building’s profile, with its leaf-shaped roofs featuring a progressive downward slope towards the south for a maximum surface area to harness energy. I hope this innovation, which is visible to all, will make residents proud, because it displays their active participation in better energy consumption.