Heritage renovation

  • Building Type : Concert or conference hall, theater
  • Construction Year : 1862
  • Delivery year : 2021
  • Address 1 - street : 15-17 villa St Jacques 75014 PARIS, France
  • Climate zone : [Cfb] Marine Mild Winter, warm summer, no dry season.

  • Net Floor Area : 635 m2
  • Construction/refurbishment cost : 1 300 000 €
  • Number of Seat : 300 Seat
  • Cost/m2 : 2047.24 €/m2
  • Primary energy need
    76 kWhep/m2.an
    (Calculation method : RT 2012 )
Energy consumption
Economical buildingBuilding
< 50A
51 à 90B
91 à 150C
151 à 230D
231 à 330E
331 à 450F
> 450G
Energy-intensive building

Built in the second half of the 19th century, the Montsouris barn is the last building that made up the old farm of Montsouris, one of the rare surviving witnesses of Parisian agricultural heritage.
The old barn is a large two-storey longère building, built of squared rubble stone with a saddleback roof covered with flat tiles. The building, originally designed as the stable of a feeder farm and a dwelling with an attic and a storeroom, was violently redesigned in the early 1960s to accommodate a social center: fitting out of floors in concrete slabs, drilling of new bay windows in facades, cement plasters...

Following many twists and turns and procedures due to the commitment and perseverance of collective citizens, the building, after having fallen into the hands of an unscrupulous promoter who would have viewed favorably its disappearance for speculative purposes, was bought back by the City of Paris in 2013.

Thanks to a participatory budget, the City of Paris undertook its restoration in 2018 and respected the will of the inhabitants to see the birth of a civic and cultural place. Largely associated with the project, the residents' collective participated alongside the architects in the design process. During workshops, the architects discussed the potential of the place resulting from the heritage diagnosis and historical research of the residents themselves and together chose the parts of the restoration.
The constant guide for all those involved in the project was heritage preservation in synergy with the use of organic and geo-sourced materials from Ile-de-France as well as the reuse of in situ or ex situ materials aimed at improving energy performance.
Finally, Circusnext, an association that supports the creation of young European circus companies, which will occupy the premises from September 2021 through the residency and production of shows.

Sustainable development approach of the project owner

The sustainable development approach for this project is part of the policy of the City of Paris, which pursues a voluntary policy in terms of sustainable buildings and eco-construction.

Architectural description

The proposed restoration of the former barn of the Montsouris farm is designed to allow an obvious reading of the original layout of the building, while preserving and enhancing the old substance that has been preserved. 
The preferred period is therefore that of the origin of the building with its function as a cowherd, whose construction took place between 1846 and 1862 and whose activity continued until the 1950s when the last farmer died: it distinguishes on the one hand a dwelling on a cellar with an independent attic - each space being naturally lit by bays that have been partly preserved - from a stable conceived as a large single-storey volume, developing over the remaining two thirds of the building as a longère. However, the reallocation of this building into a multi-purpose community facility presupposes the habitability and functionality of the new uses, and therefore an arbitration on the fittings and remodelling carried out in 1962: these are largely removed (concrete floor and cemented rendering on the eastern facade) or remodelled (modern bays). In a reuse approach specific to the customs of the peasant world referred to here, some of the flat tiles, which will be removed because of their obsolescence, are reused to fill in or remodel the modern bays, using a method that makes it possible to distinguish the ghosts of the openings and thus evoke the memory of the social place that was set up by the then owner, Abbé Keller, in his day.
The resource and sanitary diagnosis, combined with the historical and archaeological data collected during the survey of the building, made it possible to consider that the part of the building that left the most evidence of its primitive state was the part consisting of the dwelling on a cellar surmounted by its attic (the layout and shape of the bays, certain elements of the woodwork still in place, the high floor of the ground floor with its entanglements, etc.) The part of the building dedicated to the barn has retained a lesser antique substance and has been more extensively remodelled, although the supposed simplicity of its original layout could easily be evoked by the restoration of a large volume. The masonry, although subject to modern openings, has retained its overall coherence. The roof structure is original and bears witness to a traditional implementation.
It has therefore been proposed to restore the roof of the building in accordance with the most accurate knowledge we have of its original layout.

For the whole building:
- Restoration of the limestone masonry and dressing of the facings with traditional peasant plaster;
- Restoration and curative treatment of the roof timbers;
- Restoration of the roofs by removing the modern appendages.

For the "dwelling" part:
- Restoration of the bays and installation of small woodwork; the two modern bays pierced in the dwelling will be redesigned as round-headed bays, based on the model of the old bays. Witnesses of the transom joinery will be used as a model for the design of the frames;
- Restoration and reinforcement of the wooden floor of the attic.

For the "stable" part:
- The large double-height volume of the stable is restored by removing the modern concrete slab;
- The trusses are left visible in this volume as well as in the former attic;
- The contemporary habitability of the building is achieved by adaptations that respect the original layout of the building through their discreet integration and with bio-sourced materials, replaced from the site and off-site and traditional construction processes.

The following are thus implemented:
- Remodelling of the bays on the east gutter wall with new wooden frames to improve the energy performance of the building;
- Boreholes in the north gable for access to the building and the use of the upstairs room;
- The creation of roof windows with flush-fitting and re-cut windows on the western slope of the roof;
- A mezzanine and a wooden staircase to reconstitute part of the surface of the removed concrete floor.

The choice of materials and their sustainable use are at the heart of this project.

The restoration work aims first of all to ensure the conservation of the building's old construction elements by treating the pathologies that affect its enclosure (limestone masonry, wooden framework, flat tile roofs) by using methods that respect the original materials.

These traditional building principles are supplemented by the use of traditional processes or, very occasionally, localized contemporary techniques.

The contemporary interventions are integrated into the restored traditional pre-industrial barn building as far as possible according to the following criteria:

  • Use of materials with a low carbon footprint in their life cycle;
  • Use of bio-based or geo-based materials: plaster, hemp/plaster insulation, cork, terracotta, raw earth, etc;
  • Use of materials from an Ile-de-France production chain that promotes traditional know-how: traditional plaster for the façades, interior earthen plaster, hemp/plaster insulation, traditional flat tiles, etc;
  • Recycling or reuse of materials identified on the site itself or on Parisian sites.

See more details about this project


Photo credit

Myr Muratet


    Ville de Paris-SAMO

    Adrien Bachelet 06 70 86 94 93

Construction Manager


    Construction Manager

    Architecte co-traitant : Atelier Aurélien Masurel


    Heritage architect

    Construction Manager

    Architecte co-traitant : Sophie Popot


    Co-contractor architect

    Structures calculist

    LM Ingénieur


    Thermal consultancy agency

    Alter Batir



    Thermal engineering, HVAC, fluids


    Le Feu et l'Eau



    Plumbing, wood pellet boiler - installation of reuse radiators and sanitary facilities


    Conseil de quartier Montsouris Dareau

    Bruno Becker président

    Co-design of uses

Type of market

Design and implementation

Energy consumption

  • 76,00 kWhep/m2.an
  • 360,00 kWhep/m2.an
  • RT 2012

Real final energy consumption

    47,00 kWhef/m2.an

Envelope performance

  • 0,54 W.m-2.K-1
  • Existing masonry walls insulated from the inside with a straw plaster mixture / insulated screed floor for thermal inertia / double-glazed wood restoration windows.

  • 0,28


    • Wood boiler
    • Wood boiler
    • No cooling system
    • Double flow heat exchanger
    • Wood boiler
  • 100,00 %
  • isolation intérieure / inertie thermique

Urban environment

  • 632,00 m2
  • 298,00 %
  • 334,00
  • The Barn of the Montsouris farm is located in the heart of the plot. Its environment is characterized by the RER track at its South West extremity, very close but not adjoining. The born is limited to the right of its western gutter wall by the green spaces of a sparse rental housing operation.

    It leans against the back of a plot that has experienced different types of occupations and constructions, until its recent dismemberment during a massive operation of large-scale residential development. These constructions are very dense but nevertheless leave in the center of the plot a Protected Green Space on which gives the main facade (East) of the barn.

    The barn does not have a street frontage. Only its east gutter wall and its north gable wall are visible to the public from inside the island. The west gutter wall and the south gable wall are visible from the RER track.

    The project was accompanied by actors of the district, historians, associations or ordinary inhabitants, all engaged in the dialogue for the rehabilitation and the development of the heritage of the last Parisian cow farm. The project was also designed in close collaboration with the Circusnext association, which will occupy the Grange in the first place. The building, abandoned for several years, has now found a new lease of life and is becoming the vector of a new dynamic in the district. It offers a space of appropriation for the inhabitants and a place of spectacle conducive to meeting.

    Reuse is proving to be a necessity in the current context of resource depletion and global warming. It makes sense to implement it on the Parisian barn project in view of the ecosystem of local actors and local platforms developed. The configuration of the Grange land allowed for in-situ reuse, adding more sobriety to the project.


    straw-plaster insulation


    01 39 89 20 48 ou contact[a]vieujot.org


    Second œuvre / Cloisons, isolation

    It is the adaptation of an ancestral technique to the needs of the contemporary building with an R of 4 it isolates the old frame while allowing the walls to breathe and an excellent control of the hygrometry.

Reuse : same function or different function

    • Structural framework
    • Roofing
    • Facades
    • Indoor joineries
    • Outdoor joineries
    • Floorings
    • Partitions
    • Electricity
    • Heating ventilation air conditioning
    • Plumbing

    Electricity package: re-used lighting (sourced off-site reuse platform)

    Partitions lot: glazed partitions in reused windows for office partitioning (sourced off-site social landlords) / tiles placed on site re-used for cladding bases / tiles placed on site re-used for blocking openings / tiles and windows placed on site for mulching in the cellar / old terracotta tiles (sourced off the dealer site)

    Lot of floor coverings: creation of a parquet with the joists of the roof spaces deposited on site

    HVAC lot: re-used cast iron radiators (sourced off the dealer site)

    Interior joinery lot: fire door and third-party re-use door (sourced off-site worksite waste City of Paris) / re-used wood for the manufacture of a bar (sourced off-site third-party worksite waste)

    Plumbing package: re-use sanitary ware and hand-basin (sourced off-site-reuse platform)

    12 LED lights

    9m linear glass partitions

    3344 reused tiles

    96m² (i.e. 1.92m cube) of wood flooring

    70 linear meters of joinery timber

    22 m² of terracotta tiles

    15 cast iron radiators

    1 fire door

    1 third door

    2 toilets

    2 washbasins

    Electricity package: reused lights (sourced off-site Backacia reuse platform)

    Partitions lot: glazed partitions in reused windows for office partitioning (sourced off-site social landlords) / tiles placed on site re-used for the cladding of bases / tiles placed on site re-used for blocking openings / tiles and windows placed on site for mulching in the cellar / old terracotta tiles (sourced off-site Lacombes dealer)

    Lot of floor coverings: creation of a parquet with the joists of the roof spaces deposited on site

    Cover package: realization of a custom-made baking pan for the terracotta CTA used on the jobsite by Stu-dio

    HVAC package: re-used cast iron radiators and plumbing package: re-used sanitary ware and washbasin (sourced off-site reseller of the Réavie solidarity platform and city of Paris services)

    Interior joinery lot: fire door and third-party re-use door (sourced off site repentance of worksite City of Paris Musée Galliera) / re-used wood for the manufacture of a bar (sourced off-site waste from Travers Fil)

Environmental assessment

    The reuse of materials on this project made it possible to avoid:

    • The emission of 8 tonnes eqCO2
    • Use of 530m3 of water
    • The production of 7.5 tonnes of waste

    These impacts were calculated on the basis of environmental data from the INIES database.

Social economy

    The professional integration companies Travail et Vie, responsible for deconstruction, and Atelier R-are, responsible for the manufacture of parquet and tile bases, were key players in the project participating in the reuse process. The Batilibre company is also committed to the site by offering training in the circular economy.

Water management

    Rainwater collection / toilet flushes fed by rainwater

Indoor Air quality

    Double flow recovery treatment plant.

    Choice of low-emission materials, in particular A or A + varnishes and finishes.

    Reuse of non-emissive materials.

Life Cycle Analysis

    exterior plaster plaster / interior vertical straw-plaster insulation and wood wool on the roof / wood joinery / wood paneling under CF1h frame / wooden staircase / reuse see chapter circular economy

Reasons for participating in the competition(s)

The building embodies a radical eco-restoration approach in that it aims for an enlightened preservation of heritage and resources in its constructive choices as well as in its energy. By using traditional techniques, the architects wanted to reveal a vernacular heritage that bears witness to the often neglected peasant social wealth. Initially, and in support of a diagnosis, they set out to enhance, transform and reuse the materials deposited during the construction site or abandoned on the site or from Parisian construction sites, also neglected to respond soberly to the contemporary needs of new occupants. The tiles have blocked obsolete berries or mulch in the cellar or have slipped into the uprights of old windows to become paneling, the joists of the attic removed have become parquet...

Pursuing this process of preserving resources, the architects wanted to reactivate the social links and the resources which united the rural and urban world, thus paying tribute to the previous use of the site. Emphasis was placed on city-countryside supply through the use of wood and agricultural by-products such as straw, chènevotte found in insulating mortars and geo-sourced materials such as traditional plaster for interior and exterior plasters. The use of eco-materials is also a possibility to restore the link, to make it visible. It also presents obvious technical benefits for the restoration in that it proceeds from the same approach of understanding the material and its potentials in a respect of the buildings and in a valuation of the work and the gesture of the craftsman. The field of exploration has voluntarily and systematically opened up to all gathering and reusing materials, straw, terracotta, plaster, massive stone and wood.

Building candidate in the category

Bâtiments Tertiaires / prix de la rénovation

Bâtiments Tertiaires / prix de la rénovation

Trophées Bâtiments Circulaires
 circular economy reuse building heritage renovation eco-restoration consultation Trophées Bâtiments Circulaires

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Julia Turpin

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