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Illustration of the letter D for the word demolition in blue tones for the architect's alphabet of the Bordeaux agency Bulle Architectes.


D for demolition.

Demolition rhymes with emotion.
It is sometimes difficult to face this injunction with conviction when the time comes for ablation. Difficult to find the motivation in the face of interposition, agitation, disappointment of generations.
Difficult to orchestrate this mutilation, this amputation without thinking about the time of its creation.
It is difficult not to feel palpitations when the time of the explosion comes.



Should housing be demolished?
The current housing crisis, especially in large cities, makes it a central issue in social policy. Around it, supporters and opponents clash.

For some, the state of the housing, its geographical location, its lack of urban integration and its ghettoization make its demolition indispensable. For others, the difficulty of finding housing in large cities, the increase in the number of poorly housed people, and the lack of construction and available housing argue in favor of maintaining them.
The former want to solve the “problem of the suburbs” by advocating diversity. The latter want to solve the “problem of housing the excluded” by mobilizing all available housing.

If demolition is sometimes necessary because of the proven obsolescence of the building or serious problems related to its safety, the most controversial operations are often those where the quality of the building is not questioned. In fact, residents readily acknowledge the qualities of their homes. “Large, spacious, healthy, beautiful, bright, airy, well-equipped” are frequently used words.
For them, the demolition can be unpleasant and have the effect of a bomb (obligation to move, attachment to their building, to their neighborhood, to their birthplace, to their childhood).

Are there alternatives to this radicalization? Hybridization is one way of recomposing the urban fabric. The “large housing estates” contain empty spaces in search of qualification and clarification, through residentialization and new construction.  The buildings that have been preserved and rehabilitated can be used for new purposes or as support points for new developments. The social mix can be found through the programmatic mix and the establishment of collective spaces in the heart of the block.

And when demolition is unavoidable, failing to give a second life to the building, let’s give a second life to the materials. Demolition then rhymes with deconstruction.



This is the exercise we are currently undertaking for the project, combining demolition and rehabilitation, of the Epicéa residence in Bordeaux, on behalf of Domofrance.
The challenge is to list and analyze the elements present on the existing building before the demolition in order to exploit them in the best way on the new construction. This requires rigor in the methodology and anticipation in the logistics. Quality control, respect of the current standards, removal of the elements without damaging them, storage… so many elements to be taken into account to carry out this mission of re-use.

For this project, we proposed to deconstruct and reuse all the windows of the tower that will be demolished in favor of the one that will be rehabilitated. These windows cannot be reused in their initial function because of non-compliance with airtightness standards. They will be used as acoustic screens on the upper part of the future balconies of the rehabilitated tower. Safety will be ensured by new railings on which the recycled windows will rest.

We are convinced that all together, we can make demolition evolve towards a responsible action and benefit from it (recycling and reuse).

It’s hard not to be motivated and dedicated when it comes to transition and rebuilding!



Let’s not forget our motto: “Who wants to do something finds a way; who doesn’t want to do anything finds an excuse”.

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