Client: Communauté de communes Les Vals du Dauphiné
Text description provided by the architects. In Saint-Clair-de-la-Tour, “Le Cap” business incubator is a structuring tool for economic development. Aimed to young entrepreneurs, it hosts, on a 1,000 sqm program, offices, coworking spaces and workshops for companies creators.
The architects, Reach & Scharff Architects and Hors les Murs Architecture, helped by a specialized engineering team, met the challenge of a demanding and innovative approach; and designed an earth and wood building that stands out as a manifesto of new practices.
La Corderie eco-district is a territorial project with a mixed program of housing, offices, craft workshops and park. The site run along the main road, facing an old rope, now demolished. In the North, the Bourbre Park accompanies the eponymous stream.
In this context, Le Cap, compact and homogeneous building, plays a clear partition. Two separate volumes (one for the offices, the other for the workshops) are linked by an central street, open on the park, and destined to become a demonstration space. Each young worker will be able to exhibit and enhance his work.
Le Cap promotes exchanges between young entrepreneurs and breaks isolation of everyone thanks to the diversity of spaces proposed (shared offices). It’s more than a lodging, but also a tool of information and support for creation of companies ; which will have for ambition to show off all over the Dauphiné territory.
Faced with the expectations of local materials and know-how, the team responded with a building of earth and wood. A cast earth base supports a frame and cladding wood floor. The materials are all from short circuits, less than 30 kilometres from the site.
Earth material has been chosen as a reference for a region where vernacular pisé (French rammed earth) architecture is particularly rich. Using the cast-earth process made possible to use an ancestral material with contemporary methods of implementation, very close to conventional concrete ; and therefore faster and less expensive than rammed earth.
The earth used come from the site (30%), to which sand and some ciment are added. The walls are decanted with a vegetable oil, then put under cure to not penalize the time of drying and evaporation of the water contained in the earth.
The cast earth offers a lively material of a slightly vibrant color, that brings a great softness to the space. It has wrinkles and irregularities, a few cracks in angle related to the retraction of the earth during drying. The walls are insulated from the inside to leave this beautiful material visible outside and in the central street.
Upstairs, a prefabricated wood structure is implemented with wood frame walls, biosourced wood wool insulation and prefabricated douglas tile siding.
This project get the will to be a signal for the future district, carrying an entrepreneurial dynamism as a singular and innovative aesthetic.