Matière Savante

Charleroi (BE) – Special Mention


Team Representative: Yannis Fremont Marinopoulos (FR) – Architect; Associates: Hugo Maffre (FR), Bertrand Etienne Le Personnic (FR), Leandro Ferreira Soares (FR) – Architects 

7 rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris, (FR)
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Y. Fremont Marinopoulos, H. Maffre, B. Etienne Le Personnic & L. Ferreira Soares 


1. How did you form the team for the competition?

parages. is a young architecture office born in Paris before EUROPAN 15. We want to promote new methods of thinking about architectural and urban projects,but also in design process. Europan is an opportunity to built and manage our way of thinking in these kinds of large-scale projects, particularly in post-industrial sites such as Charleroi.

2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?

As a damaged, abandoned and outdated location, Charleroi’s site represents an interesting subject to the Productive City. It looks essential to develop a new vision of productivity in industrial sites other than adding or creating. First, it was about looking the existing elements and then, give them a second life using a transformation process. In addition, these existing buildings made the glory of the region by the past and became a part of the local heritage we have to preserve.


 3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?

We had in mind the transformation method to do this project before visiting Charleroi. During our stay walking through these disaffected steel cathedrals, it seemed impossible to do tabula rasa and redesign a completely new plan with a fictif program and without the different actors of the city. There is many materials and elements in this site that we can re-use, a strong heritage and volumes that we no longer build these days that the main idea came from making an exhaustive inventory of the existings elements. This inventory allow us to “deconstruct” and then reconstruct new buildings adapted to a concerted program. This method, detailed more precisely in the project presentation, reveals a fundamental tryptic : conservation of patrimonial elements with the transformation and the re-use of the existing materials ; new constructions with less new materials, with a new and adapted program to the current needs ; and finally the method allows the integration of the local expertise and put local actors in the heart of a new process of urban conception. This generic method can be applied in many industrial sites and create contextual projects using the existing material.

 4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?

The re-use or transformation question is very important to us, not because it is trendy but because it is essential to integrate these questions in the beginning of any project reflexion. We can reduce energy consumption, limit waste and limit the production of ephemeral materials. From the individual housing to collective housing passing by scenography and territory research, parages. work in different kind of projects and scales. In all these scales, we try to integrate much as possible the question of re-use, to respect the exists and to limit ephemeral materials.

5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?

Actors and process is the foundation of our thinking in MATIERE SAVANTE. We do not pretend to know the current needs of Charleroi, and we affirm a project without program. To establish a program, the municipality, the inhabitants and the local expertise have to be part of the future project. Without them, any reflexion can be relevant. That is why our first step is to make an inventory of every single construction or element existing in the site, and also a social inventory of the local expertise and different actors to establish together an adapted program for an adapted project. Time to convince the city of Charleroi of the importance of this manufacturing process.

6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?

With some others members, we had the second price in Rouen, Saint Sever site, for EUROPAN 13. “Rouen on move” is a manifest which shows the process of ZAC in France. In the same way of our project MATIERE SAVANTE, “Rouen on move” proposes a bottom up system where the actor and the inhabitant were at the beginning of the process of urban conception. After several conferences in Rouen, the project did not continue but the idea of a new method of urban conception allows us to win a new price with EUROPAN 15, hoping that this one can become true.



Office: parages.
Functions: Architecture
Average age of the associates: 27-29 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?

We have some projects in progress : rehabilitation of an apartment in Paris ; a Duplex in Pantin ; scenography project and an individual house in Fontenay-sous-Bois. We apply for Public offers in different kinds, in interior design and for museums furnishing.