The agency Nomade Architectes recently completed a major rehabilitation at Le Mans. Located east of downtown in the heart of the Sablon neighbourhood, a social housing sector built in the 1960s, the objective was to provide a thermal improvement to several residential buildings and create a new image of the neighborhood.
For 10 years, strong issues have emerged in France relating to the rehabilitation of building so-called "big sets,” and particularly on post-war collective housing in which Nomade agency is particularly interested. Requiring major renovations to provide their residents both thermal and aesthetic comfort, these building’s larger "communities" often have the same characteristics. These are buildings constructed in an emergency, using concrete as the main material, which is outdated in terms of energy performance. They appear as monotonous landscapes resulting in stiffness and architectural repetition. The establishment of a renovation project aims to rectify these issues.
The Nomade agency has worked on improving the energy performance of 348 social housing units in six towers of 12 floors each, located at Switzerland Street and Herriot Street, occupying approximately 200,000 square feet. The six towers are located within a clear urban environment, surrounded by small collectives (R 4) on the edge of a park. The agency took advantage of their location and visibility to form strong elements of the neighborhood.
The issues of the operation are multiple: to improve the thermal comfort of homes, provide a unique and relevant response to the work of facades, and break the rigidity and hardness of the lines making up this set. The objective is to generate a dynamic and contemporary image of the housing and the surrounding area, while dealing with the daily life of its inhabitants.
For this Nomade agency coated an entire new metal aluminum skin. The creation of the envelope and the establishment of thermal insulation from the outside helped lead the towers and achieve energy objectives. The agency chose to use aluminum for several reasons: the durability of the material and malleability, which enables the design of specific project details. Here the raised parts’ perforated cladding and originality of the application made the transformation of the structure visible in a residential area. This work was conducted by coating the implementation of a glossy lacquered aluminum siding from Alcoa Reynobond on all towers.
After six months of collaboration, the company Alcoa Reynobond and Nomade have defined three colors for the painting of this new skin: champagne, bronze, and gold. The bold choice of three colors of siding, rarely used on large surfaces, brings a touch of sparkle and originality to the buildings. The coating is composed of three layers of PVDF type 70/30, a high-tech product that provides a limited brightness (20 to 30%) to the metal surface of cassettes and a highly resistant and durable finish, adapting perfectly to this type of rehabilitation. Thus, from the point of view of the user and the pedestrian, the hues vary subtly according to the direction of the light.
The agency has also worked on a set of random layout cassettes, treated in two different finishes, solid or perforated, and raised in thickness. This variation of finish, color, and placement ensures a perfect seal and brings originality and vibrancy to the whole.
For the base, the choice fell on the Carea for its strength and weather resistance. Two colors were used, black at the foot of three golden towers and grey for three rounds of champagne color. This marks the contrast in the building’s volume and creates a strong entrance.
All of these variations are tools that break the monotony, playing on the different perceptions of the project; smooth or perforated, matte, shiny, or reflective textures, colors of gold, bronze or champagne, for the staging environment project and the nearby park. Very reactive to light and change of season, these six towers at Le Mans form an unprecedented appearance every day.
Creating a new image of the environment, that of a dynamic and changing contemporary architecture, these six gold monoliths announce the renewal of a changing neighborhood .