• Address 1 - street : ZAC de la Niche aux oiseaux 35590 LA CHAPELLE THOUARAULT, France

  • Population : 600 hab
  • Starting year of the project : 2010
  • Delivery year of the project : 2024

Certifications :

  • 10 ha

  • 2 900 000 €

This project won the New District Grand Prize at the French and international levels of the Green Solutions Awards 2022-2023. 

Labeled eco-neighbourhood, Niche aux Oiseaux the urban project reflects the municipality's desire to place its development within a sustainable and controlled framework. The new housing offer is consistent with the town center and an extension of the town's rural identity.

Its realization is based on the topography of the site, a major ecological and landscape asset made up in particular of two structuring green flows. Open to the countryside, the urban project includes an important aspect of promoting the plant heritage and biodiversity in parallel with the construction of essential facilities for better management of rainwater, the development of soft mobility and the creation of new spaces. public favorable to the creation of links between the inhabitants.


  • Creating a new housing offer capable of strengthening the coherence of the town center
  • Enhancing the landscape by inserting housing programs into “chambres bocagères” and preserving views of the countryside
  • Developing soft paths integrated into the green fabric and connected to the green corridor linking the town center and to a new green corridor crossing the neighborhood from east to west
  • Developing convivial spaces (gardens and playgrounds) and paths for pedestrians and bicycles
  • Raising the awareness of the inhabitants of the municipality and the neighborhood about sustainable development and biodiversity, via the Ecoquartier label and the partnership with the LPO


  • Housing
  • Public spaces
  • Green spaces

Project progress

  • Operational phase

Key points

  • Quality of life
  • Mobility
  • Biodiversity

Approaches used

  • Ecodistrict national label
  • AEU


  • Ecodistrict national label

Photo credit

JF Molliere

Type of territory

Rural town of 764 hectares located 17km west of Rennes, La Chapelle-Thouarault is part of the second ring of Rennes Métropole.

In the continuity of the town centre, La Niche aux Oiseaux must accommodate 600 inhabitants in a valued landscape setting, in particular thanks to the development of green corridors linking the town to the surrounding nature. The district develops on a hillside whose elevation allows the evacuation of rainwater via the Fontaine Launay stream.

Climate zone

[Cfb] Marine Mild Winter, warm summer, no dry season.

Number of residential units


Number of social housing units


Detail of subsidies

No costs are borne by the municipality: the studies as well as all the VRD work are borne by the SEM Territoire. The SEM then sells the land to the various construction operators (developers/social landlords). In return for the overall positive balance of the operation, the SEM pays the town hall a contribution to communal collective facilities to help the town hall assume the costs due to the increase in the population (school, media library, nursery, etc.).

Project holder


    Para-public owner)


Project management

    Main dates:

    • 2005: creation of the urban development zone 
    • 2007: approval of the urban development zone construction file
    • 2009: start of the first works
    • 2011: delivery of the first apartments
    • 2014: Ecodistrict label
    • 2024: urban development zone completion horizon

Project stakeholders


    Technical consultancy agency

    thermal consultancy agency VRD


    Environmental consultancy agency

    Environmental Engineering

Quality of life / density

From the 90s, noting the increase in demography in the town, the community anticipates the reception of new inhabitants and thinks about the creation of housing on its territory. The urban development zone of “La niche aux Oiseaux” responds to this request with, as the common thread of the project, the consideration of sustainable development.

One of the high points of the project is the densification of the habitat: "we must densify, we can no longer continue to consume agricultural space as we have done and as we continue to do" argues Jean-François Bohuon, mayor of the town since 2001 and 1st deputy on the previous mandate.

Based on this principle, the community developed in the years 98-99 a green corridor of 6 ha which joins the town center. The urban development zone , on the other side of the green corridor, was already registered with the PLU: "it's my philosophy, if we want to densify, we need quality green spaces" defends the mayor.

The final density is 33 dwellings per hectare.

Social diversity 

The proposed 320 housing program meets the objectives of the Local Housing Program in terms of social diversity and diversity of forms of housing.

Social inclusion and safety 

In 2019, the construction of a wooden kiosk was the subject of a participatory project carried out as part of the urban project by the association "Men and trees". This approach aims to create a link between the inhabitants of the district but also to raise awareness of eco-construction and biodiversity.

Mobility strategy

A new green corridor that crosses the district from east to west and allows you to reach the town center on foot or by bike.

Biodiversity and natural areas

New district erected in total harmony with the natural setting that welcomes it, 5 minutes walk from the town center, the Niche aux Oiseaux is based on an ecological development project. Natural valley, the site has an exceptional landscape: hedges of oaks which delimit the different sectors of the new district, a panoramic view to the south towards the countryside and the valley of the Vaunoise, hollow paths registered in pedestrian circuits.

Refuge LPO since 2013, the Niche aux Oiseaux is the subject of a management plan which allows to promote the avifauna, to sensitize the inhabitants to the discovery of nature, to the reception of birds and the preservation of fauna. and flora. The LPO was involved from the design phase of the project to integrate and promote biodiversity. An agreement was then established with the associations for the monitoring of biodiversity in the urban development zone  and the animation/awareness of the inhabitants.


    Timber Frame Modular Homes

    In the La Niche aux Oiseaux neighborhood in La Chapelle-Thouarault, the Maisons Té.Ho company is building five factory-prefabricated wooden frame houses. Installed in April, they fall within the framework of the Maison + Jardin scheme in Rennes Métropole, which aims to offer houses with landscaped gardens for less than €200,000 to first-time buyers eligible for the Zero Rate Loan (PTZ).

    “The construction method in prefabricated wood structure makes it possible to produce more ecological and more economical housing in extremely short time frames. In close collaboration with the Sitadin agency and the AMCO design office (respectively town planner, landscaper and project management for La Niche aux Oiseaux), Maison Té.Ho has also been able to make constructive adaptations to integrate the management system of rainwater planned for the entire Niche aux Oiseaux district. The realization of exterior landscaping is also integrated into our partnership, so we have the guarantee of a greater coherence of landscaping at the scale of the block and at the scale of the district. »

    William Champalaune, operations manager at Territoires

    In just four months, the modules patented by Maisons Té.Ho were pre-designed in their production plant located in Liffré and were installed in one day in the neighborhood. Once the modules have been installed, all that remains is to make the connections, the exterior coatings and the interior decoration.

    Advantages :

    • High energy performance and energy saving
    • A controlled humidity level
    • Fast and economical construction
    • Reduced embodied energy rate with five times fewer trucks on site
    • Improved working conditions for builders: protection against bad weather, work on one level, overhead cranes for carrying heavy loads, fixed working hours.

    • Low-carbon materials/ infrastructure


While an RT2005 -15% objective had already been established for the entire district, an area of the urban development zone - block 17 - made up of 8 plots was reserved for the construction of passive houses. The objective was to build efficient, durable and comfortable houses for its future buyers on the basis of bioclimatic design.

The very efficient insulation of the houses will limit heating needs to 15kWh/m2/year. The excellent airtightness will guarantee the absence of leaks and air passages and will eliminate thermal bridges.

Since the end of 2022, this block has been the subject of a participatory project. Alongside the LPO association (League for the Protection of Birds), the inhabitants of the district are invited to participate in the revegetation of the site. Young and old are welcome to participate in the planting of regional trees and shrubs, such as field maples, hornbeams and hawthorns.

The urban development zone also hosts five prefabricated wooden frame houses.

Reasons for participating in the competition(s)

  • A reasoned densification strategy in rural areas;
  • Strong desire to protect biodiversity by integrating the LPO from the design phase of the project;
  • Creation of a green corridor between the urban development zone and the town centre, fitted out to promote soft mobility;
  • Promotion of high-performance housing, with healthy and sustainable materials and exemplary energy performance.
 urban planning urban biodiversity energy efficiency renewable energies integration into the site nature in the city greening Green Solutions Awards Green Solutions Awards 2022 2023

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