Matière Première

Nantes (FR) - Winner


Associates: Alan Benoit (FR), Tom Barbier (FR), Paul Riffault (FR), Thomas Catti (FR), Jean-Benoît Boccaren (FR) – architects urbanists

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VIDEO (by the team)

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1. How do you define the main issue of your project in relation with the theme “Living Cities Imagining architecture taking care of the milieus”? And in which way do you think your project can contribute to an ecological and/or social evolution?
The theme of Europan 17 questions our ability to transform this monofunctional and artificial hospital site into a fragment of a diversified city through a regenerative approach of living environments, considering the challenges posed by the climate emergency. This methodology translates into an approach focused on the requalification and enhancement of an 'existing' entity, uniting both the urban and geographical context, the inherited built heritage, and the ground. By re-establishing a conducive environment for life in an endogenous manner, the site becomes the raw material for a desirable and sustainable future.

2. How did the issues of your design and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
The University Hospital Center (CHU) site holds an exceptional position in the heart of the Metropole, along the Loire River. Yet paradoxically, it stands as a closed and opaque urban complex due to its hospital functions. The site is 95% artificial and exhibits an high built density. However, it is also considerably flexible. With the material already in place, our approach involves proposing an intervention 'in the negative space.' The landscape is opened up, the grounds and structures excavated, revitalized, allowing the site to potentially become the final piece of a inhabited park system open to the Loire river.


3. Have you treated these issues previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
During the last Europan 16 edition, we had already worked on the issue of the living cities, and we regularly tackle with the question of requalifying city fragments in our urban planner profession. The Nantes territory is rich with remarkable urban interventions, such as L’ile de Nantes, the Malakoff-Pré Gauchet district, or the Bottière Chénaie, which have been a major source of inspiration for us.


4. How can your project be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
We primarily aim to establish a dialogue with the Metropole, the city, the various project actors, and the Europan teams. Given the stakes involved and previous experiences in urban projects, we are eager to initiate a collaborative effort. Our project offers a transformation of the site in the short, medium, and long term. It serves as a foundation for reflection that should be enriched by all the local actors and new data.


5. How did you form the team for the competition and if so what are the skills you associated?
Although we met in the same architecture and town planning agency, it was primarily our shared affinities and common sensitivities that brought us together for this competition. Along with sharing a common architectural culture and drawing practice, we also had the desire to lead new thoughts and projects, to think different and act different. Each member also possesses unique skills that allow us to form a complementary team (landscape, botany, sociology, cinema, graphic design, music).

6. How could this prize help you in your professional career?
Europan 17 has been a valuable reflective experience that allowed us to articulate themes close to our hearts, which we aim to further explore, especially with the project to create a professional structure together. While the competition serves as a way to test ourselves, it is also an opportunity to engage a process through a public contract. We see this competition as a great experience for the exercise of our profession as architect.

Legal status: 
The team currently has no legal form. The name of the project “Matière Première” was chosen as the team name. We can be contacted via mail :
Team name: 
Average age of the associates: 32 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? if so, which ones?
Some of us have already participated in competitions and projects, including Europan 13 (Jean-Benoît Boccaren, project mentioned), Europan 16 (Jean-Benoît Boccaren, Tom Barbier and Paul Riffault, runner up), competition AMITER 2021 in Tours (Tom Barbier with germe&JAM, mentioned), competition REHA 3 (PUCA) in Nanterres (Alan BENOIT with germe&JAM, winner). This is the first time we worked all together, the experience was very stimulating.