Productive Synergy

Auby (FR) - Runner-up


Team Representative: Ariane Jean Marie Desiree (FR) – architect; Associate: Gregoire Simonin (FR) – architect-engineer

18 rue Rampal 75019 Paris (FR)
+33 626108923 -

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G. Simonin, A. J. M. Desiree

VIDEO (by the team)


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

We have known each other since we started studying at ENSAPLV. We come from different backgrounds (architecture and engineering) and we like to work together on projects outside of our professional activities. Even though our main domain of activity is architecture we have been working in many different areas that relates to architecture. As we practice our profession we stay curious about other disciplines. We strive to enrich and broaden our skills. Together we decided to enter the Europan 15 competition with a shared interest in the Auby site challenge.

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?

We asked ourselves what a productive activity could be on the one hand, in a global context of economic, social and ecological crisis, and on the other hand, in a local context adapted to this town. To answer this question, we tried to identify the latent resources and potentialities of Auby with the aim of revealing and activating them. Our approach is based on the implementation of a productive process anchoring the human dimension, solidarity and the environment as elementary resources. Our response is based on three complementary productive factors:
- Reuse and recycling to give a second life to valuable existing material resources;
- Pooling people’s know-how and disseminate it for the benefit of the whole community;
- Create of a complementary local currency as a tool for a local circular economy based on solidarity.


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

Auby is a town located in the centre of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais mining basin which is experiencing a decline in activity and attractiveness: ageing public spaces, underused natural framework, vacant shops... We can pull these levers to initiate a strategy for the transformation of the site. How can this site be transformed for the 21st century, taking into account its environment and finding a link between the landscape, the human dimension and the economy while improving the town’s life? It is an optimistic project, based on the town’s mining identity, its urban heritage as well as the willingness of the stakeholders to propose a virtuous process of renewal.


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

We took on this challenge knowing we carried out two other projects that bore similarities: our end of studies project, which proposed a strategy for transforming a enclaved peri-urban site, and a “call for ideas” for the revitalization of a town centre located on the banks of the Nivernais canal. We learned from this research work the importance of defining a mobility network and a taxonomy of the public spaces, the porosity between the urban and natural landscape, the quality of lived in and inhabited spaces. Fueled by other projects such as the development of the banks of the Aisne river in Soissons by the TER agency or the Philippe Prost's rehabilitation project for the Cité minière des Électriciens in Bruay-la-Buissière, we were able to develop a thought process specific to the town of Auby and the problem posed by Europan.


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?

A long term strategy is central to achieving resilient and sustainable objectives; we decided to put the stakeholders at the heart of the design process. Rather than trying to phase out the process, we intuitively thought of proposing a methodology anyone can appropriate and adapt according to their own needs.

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

Taking part in Europan is a first for us. We found Auby’s challenges particularly interesting, both because of its specificities and the symptomatic and characteristic issues it shares many other towns and regions. This competition has been a very enriching experience. It has enabled us to make the most of our different areas of expertise and past experiences. This award makes us proud, enthusiastic and motivates us to deepen our reflection with the actors and inhabitants of Auby.



Office: No office yet
Functions: Architect, Architect/Engineer
Average age of the associates: 27 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?
Together, the team presented its end-of-studies project in architecture at the ENSAPLV (2016) and participated in the Vitalit'y call for ideas (2018) for which the project was selected.