La maison du projet La Lanière
La maison du projet La Lanière has in particular the function to raise awareness of new construction methods. © Hendrik Verlinden
On the former industrial site La Lainière, situated between Wattrelos and Roubaix, a new district with mixed functions is being developed. One of the buildings is La maison du projet, which has the function to present the history of the site and the urban project, welcome residents and communities for events and in particular to raise awareness of new construction methods. It is completed in 2014. However, La maison du projet is not intended to stay, it will be removed when the whole site is fully developed. The construction is intended to be disassembled and to be reassembled at another site.
La maison du projet is the first building in France which is conceived C2C (Cradle to Cradle). Before construction, the site was analysed (land, stones, etc.) to decide which materials in de field could be sorted and re(used). All the materials used in the construction are non-toxic and bio-based. The components and the elements are modular and dismountable to reduce the waste. The spaces in the building can easily adapt to different functions and can accommodate various audiences.
The façades' structure and construction
The building is based on metal piles that can be removed when dismantling the building. On these piles, a bolted metal girder structure is placed. This foundation solution is perfectly compatible with the timber structure of the building and with the C2C concept (completely removable and reusable). Wooden panels are mounted on the timber structure. These panels of 2,5 m height are prefabricated. They can be assembled thanks to a system of fitting keys installed at both sides of the panels. The elements of the panels are assembled by dry connections, screws and bolts, in order to be demounted easily. In some panels the inner elements are replaced by polycarbonate.
The assembly process of the façade panels. © Carlos Arroyo Architects
The demountable foundation consists of metal piles and a bolted metal girder structure.
Designed for Change (or Circularity)?
This evaluation is done by using the 24 Design Principles for Design for Change. Only the principles at the Element and Building level are evaluated. The principles of the Neighbourhood level are not evaluated in this case.
The green-indicated principles are applied in the project. For the blue-indicated principles, it is not sure. The red-indicated principles are not applied. It is important to understand that it's not the goal to fulfill all 24 principles to obtain a circular building. It always depends on the context of the building, and how those principles are implemented. This evaluation is used as a reflection. All principles are discussed separately hereunder.
Element - Interfaces
1. Reversible joints in the building elements: Reversible connections have been used. In this case, most connections are reversible because the aim of the building is to be able to be disassembled and reassembled at another location. For example, the wooden panels, the structure and the foundation are connected by reversible connectors, such as nuts, bolts and screws.
2. Simple: The designers have considered simplifying the connections and the assembly. The façade panels are prefabricated, and it seems only few connectors are needed to assemble the façade panels to the structure. However, we do not know how many connectors are needed exactly, or if all connection techniques are standardised or if the dismantling can be done by a layman or if expertise is needed (specialist contractors).
3. Speed: We do not know if the amount of connections was limited to a minimum and if they are easily accessible.
Element - Components
4. Durable*: Selecting durable materials is important to lengthen the lifespan of the building elements and because the materials and building elements must withstand being reused, which includes the wear-and-tear of frequent transport and intensive use of construction products. The designers of La Lanière have chosen durable materials and façade elements, such as:
Aluminium window frames (100 years)
Wooden façade cladding (15-60 years)
Metal primary structure (100 years)
Wooden secondary structure, in the façade panels (100 years)
5. Reused: No building components of different buildings or components of different industries is reused in this project.
6. Compatible: We don’t know if the different components are made in standardized sizes and whether there is a market for them once they will be sold.
Element - Composition
7. Pace-layered: We don’t know the sequence of the different layers in the wooden panels. Are the layers of the panels physically decoupled in functional and technical layers?
8. Independent: We don’t know if the components are assembled independently of each other. Providing for dismantling in parallel instead of sequentially ensures that only certain components can be removed from a functional or technical lifetime layer.
9. Prefabricated: The façade panels arrive preassembled on site. This pre-grouping of components allows accelerated assembly and disassembly. Mounting building components prior to assembly has in general also advantages when it comes to quality control, uniformity of building components, reduced waste generation and cost reduction in the building process. However, higher prefabrication rates could have been acquired in this project.
Building - Interfaces
10. Reversible joints between elements: Reversible connections have been used. In this case, most connections are reversible because the aim of the building is to be able to be disassembled and reassembled at another location. For example, the wooden panels, the structure and the foundation are connected by reversible connectors, such as nuts, bolts and screws.
Building - Components
11. Demountable: Any maintenance and modification work should be possible at any point throughout the building’s lifespan. In this project, the designers distinguished between integrated building elements, such as the indoor walls, the façade panels, and the structure. However, it is not clear if, for example, a façade panel can be refurbished without dismantling the roof. It is also unknown how the techniques are installed according to the different building layers.
12. Reusable: Building components, such as the wooden façade panels, are reusable in the same building project. All the façade panels have the same size. On the other hand, it could be that this limits the reuse of components to the project itself.
13. Expandable: Are the supporting elements easy to reinforce? Are pipes strategically planned / positioned? Can insulation be added?
Building - Composition
14. Versatile: The design of the building allows multiple functions. It is equipped for future functional changes. The designers used an open-plan design for the large central hall and use movable fixtures, such as inflatable and/or lightweight furniture.
*References lifespan materials:
BVBS. (2010). Technical lifespan of building components for life cycle assessment of sustainable construction, on
BCIS. (2006). Life expectancy of building components: surveyors’ experiences of buildings in use: a practical guide. Second edition. London: BCIS. 353p.
Van Steenkiste, Jona. (2012). Longevity of building materials for massive construction. PhD Thesis, University of Ghent
SBR; VISSERING, C. (2011). Longevity of building products - methodology for reference values. Rotterdam: SBR. 32p.
Marteinsson, Björn. (2003). Durability and the Factor Method of ISO 15686-1. Building Research & Information 31(6): 416–426.
The Design for Change principles are used to evaluate the project on circularity and Design for Change. © OVAM