SDE goes urban? Team aura goes Territorial!

Territorial scale – How to inhabit the anthropocene?

Humanity has moved into a new age: The Anthropocene.

«It is a scientific concept that postulates that the earth has entered a new geological era, when human activity has become the dominant geophysical force. Beyond the scientific debate, the Anthropocene is a societal subject, the name of an environmental awareness, which confers a huge responsibility to humankind: finding the tools to take up the challenges linked to the current lifestyle. »

Philippe Chiambaretta – Architect

To repond to this question, the first opus of our long-term study will consist of proposing a new territorial balance, based on “Distributed Urbanism” concept.

Our main action strategies are :

  1. Large and dense cities are vulnerable to coercion.
  1. To work on the revitalisation of rural communities as a vector of territorial balance and as an alternative to the development of metropolises and megacities.
  1. To reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact associated with the construction site, in particular by limiting the amount of new construction.


Project locationProject location

Re-use ressources : Armadillo box©

Re-use ressources : Canopea©
Re-use ressources : Hotel “Les Deux Sœurs”
Re-use ressources : Opportunity Reuse Store


Re-use ressources : Opportunity Deconstruction Site


Neighbourhood scale

Our main action strategies are :

  1. Rethink the activities historically present in the area to restore its attractiveness.
  • Rethinking agricultural activity.
  • Rethinkinking tourist activity by developing sustainable local tourism.
  • Identify and develop local building material industries.
  1. Promote the settlement of permanent residents in order to become a host territory for the population leaving the big cities.
  • To develop a mobility strategy towards Grenoble.
  • To work on a complete service offer, shared between the commune of Château Bernard and the commune of Gua.
  • To rehabilitate the existing infrastructure on the Arzelier pass, initially developed for seasonal tourists. To give them spatial characteristics allowing them to be used all year round.
  1. Decline the will to increase the national territorial resilience, at the local level of our study area.
  • Propose a community organisation, in which certain spaces would be shared and mutualised, favouring processes of socialisation and mutual aid.
  • To enable the diversification of activities present locally, beyond the three major areas identified above (agriculture, tourism and materials).
  • Identify the possibilities of supplying basic necessities through existing short circuits, strengthen them and consider the development of new networks.


Isometry of the site concept large
Isometry of the site concept large
Mobility concept
Mobility concept
Isometry of the site concept short
Isometry of the site concept short
Project scenario
Project scenario


The wole building scale

The project is located on the plot of land of the former hotel «Les Deux Soeurs» and aims to be a dynamic place on the Arzelier pass. The project hosts a mixed program with housing as well as spaces open to the public, and wishes to foster a spirit of «making a village». There is a teleworking space, an associative café, spaces to accommodate local associations, an associative nursery and a workshop in the basement. These spaces for meeting and sharing offer the possibility for the different actors of the territory to work together.

Our main action strategies are :

  1. Design a project that is adaptable over time, whose flexibility will allow for changes in use.
  • Anticipate the evolution of the building right from the design stage.
  • Build the extension on an already artificialised soil.
  • Building an extension less than 12m thick.
  • Avoid the mono-orientation of the interior spaces and make the dwelling traversing to favours the contribution of light and natural ventilation.
  1. Making housing more affordable
  • Reinvest the tripartite breakdown of the building into «Core / Skin / Shell» developed by the Aura team in previous Solar Decathlon Europe editions.
  • Reinterpret the modular logic developed at the Cité Radieuse by Le Corbusier.
  • Offer a diversity of housing options.
  • Develop off-site prefabrication.
  • Support a project of a residents’ cooperative.
  • Develop the logic of mutualisation of spaces and equipment in order to optimise the building as much as possible.
Extension on an artificial soil
Extension on an artificial soil


Program diversity

Program diversity


Through dwelling : natural ventilation and light supply
Through dwelling : natural ventilation and light supply


  1. Reduce the carbon footprint of the construction project to limit global warming and its effects.
  • Thinking about mechanical assemblies that can be easily dismantled and easily transportable. Dismantling continues the logic of scalability and materials reuse.
  • Implementing a reuse process that transforms the reused elements from waste to building material, and which also makes it possible to use a very low carbon material thanks to the few transformations necessary in a reuse process.
  • Use bio-based and geosourced and local materials.
  • Appropriate local constructive cultures while keeping the know-how and businesses of the region alive.
  • Limit the number of m² built and renovated per person, «smaller-greener»
  • Increase the quality of construction and preserve and develop local know-
  1. Work towards the appropriation of the building by its occupants, but also by the people living in the commune of Château Bernard to foster a spirit of community at different scales.
  • Create a useful and warm building for all the inhabitants of the Arzelier Pass while remaining safe and intimate for the residents of the project.
  • Develop three level of intimacy – PUBLIC / COMMON / PRIVATE
  • Counterbalance the very present community life with qualitative private spaces that act as sanctuaries for the development of an intimate domestic life.
CORE (écrit en bleu) : Technical part ; SKIN (écrit en jaune) : Thermal and lowtech envelope ; SHELL ((écrit en orange) : High-tech part, protective and capturing solar energy
CORE (in blue) : Technical part ; SKIN (in yellow) : Thermal and lowtech envelope ; SHELL (in orange) : High-tech part, protective and capturing solar energy
Housing diversity
Housing diversity