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AuRA ● Grenoble, France

Logo of team AuRA.
University ● Grenoble School of Architecture
Task ● Renovation & Extension, Saint-bonnet-en-Champsaur, France
Teamphoto of AuRA

● Team © AuRA | SDE21

The texts were written by the teams themselves and will be updated during the competition.

About the team

After Team AuRA taking part in the SDE 2010 and 2012 in Madrid and being members of the organization of the 2014 edition in Versailles, it’s time for another chapter. The team will be jointly guided by both the Grenoble National School of Architecture (ENSAG) and the Grands Ateliers Innovation Architecture (GAIA) which is the biggest French technical platform dedicated to innovation and experimentation in the field of architecture. The team will also include the University of Grenoble (UGA), ENSE3 school, ENSAM Chambéry school, the Association des compagnons du devoir et du tour de France (AOCDTF), IUTGEII Grenoble and HES-SO.

Our motivation

Outline a fertile territory and a sustainable society, which would also allow the development of all forms of life, is by far the biggest challenge of the 21st century that humanity must take up. Indeed, in 2020, objective indicators show, one after the other, an advanced and growing state of degradation of the planet, and irreversible changes are already underway. It is no longer a matter of avoiding them, but of limiting their impact.

To this end, we have the ambition to bring out, in the coming years, several projects and stories that will allow us to consider different ways of living in the Anthropocene. The first opus of this long-term study will consist in proposing alternatives to the megacities.

The subjugation of megacities with a complex and globalized supply system comes at the price of an abandonment of sovereignty and a lack of resilience in the face of constraint. This dependence raises questions, all the more so in view of a future that is, to say the least, indecisive, of which we can affirm that the increase in climatic, environmental, social and health constraints as well as the scarcity of material and energy resources will be among its main characteristics.

Our motivation

Prototypes of AuRA
A map of AuRA

Project des­cription

Our project is based on three different scales:

  • Territorial scale: put forward possible alternatives to the metropolises relying on the peri-urban and rural areas existing building stock.
  • Local scale: encourage resilient, fertile and self-sufficient communities’ development.
  • Architectural scale: propose architectural project based on sobriety, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. This intent directly refers to the three megawatt scenario pillars, developed to reduce carbon emissions. In order to limit entropy, the designed project will only be using geo-based or bio-based matters, as well as re-used materials.

Our SDE21 project focuses on a site in Saint-Bonnet-En-Champsaur. The central aim of this site is the revitalization of hamlets. On the one hand we will be addressing the idea that working to revitalize rural communities can lead to an alternative development to metropolises and mega-cities.

On the other hand, the site of Saint-Bonne-En-Champsaur will enable us to put forward solutions aiming at countering town centers’ desertification. Which is a problematic issue affecting French small towns and villages. These studies will rely on a thesis presented by a former SDE decathlete within AE&CC ENSAG research unit.

Here is the program for the project: create a housing cooperative within renovating the existing building stock and integrate a share ‘safe shelter’ mainly designed to provide housing. This type of housing will bring support to people from the community within a situation of social or physical fragility (unemployed persons, homeless persons, climate refuges, older and/or dependent on others, ill persons) and to absorb the impact of unplanned environmental events (shortages, heatwaves, natural disaster).

We think that housing cooperative is an organization that enables to create more resilient communities. If the housing cooperative is popular amongst some countries such as Canada, it is currently not the case in France. Yet, this model is not new as he was encouraged by the French authorities in the late 19th century. We think that developing this model halfway between property and leasing is an essential way to go against property speculation.

Plus, it is a model that will enable to bring the architectural and environmental concerns back in the center of the construction project. It is also a way to forge social ties and to experiment a housing method of governance that is more democratic.

The design method proposed to students is based on simplicity and favours the development of good design concepts on the long term by different students’ teams. These methods allow the testing of valuable but perfectible solutions. For example, we will work on a CORE-SKIN-SHELL tripartite decomposition of the building, in order to use the most adapted production process for each of the different parts. 

Curious to know more?

For more information about AuRa, please visit the project website.


Christophe de Tricaud, Project manager
Phone: +33  6 63 42 73 81

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AuRA ● Grenoble, France