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Town planning: outcry to defend very sixties buildings in Toulouse

Several architects are mobilizing alongside the inhabitants of the popular city of Mirail, in Toulouse, to avoid the destruction of 1,400 dwellings from the 1960s, pleading for their rehabilitation and denouncing a disastrous project on the ecological and economic level. Indy”, a massive eleven-storey bar, stands out above the trees, not far from the Reynerie lake. The building, erected in a Y, houses 243 social housing units and must be destroyed in 2023. Six other buildings in the district are condemned to disappear to make way for smaller ones, ranging from individual pavilions to collective buildings, following a sustained plan by the national agency for urban renewal. “Even though there is a lack of housing in Toulouse, it’s an aberration!”, Gets carried away by Michel Retbi, architect of the collective opposed to the project.Toulouse, fourth city in France with more than 493,000 inhabitants, is in a tight real estate zone due to insufficient supply. price of raw materials and the climate crisis, according to the collective. “Demolishing and rebuilding costs three times more than rehabilitating” and “the carbon footprint of demolition is three times what rehabilitation represents”, assures Mr. R etbi. The renovation of the district, fifteen minutes by metro from the city center, could be carried out without demolition, they insist, pleading for a moratorium on destruction and an architectural competition to imagine the Mirail of the future. – Spacious housing -Baptized by the names of composers and painters (Tintoretto, Messenger, etc.), these large ensembles “are among the rare buildings that have not moved after AZF”, specifies Gilbert Pedra, another member of the collective. The explosion of the AZF fertilizer factory in 2001 caused 30 deaths and destroyed or damaged nearly 30,000 buildings. luxury in the city center of Toulouse are worse than that, both in terms of space and quality, and an architect tells you so!” The apartments, almost all social housing, range from 2 to 6-bedroom apartments and are “super “, smiles Jacques Rovaris, 79, who has occupied a T2 at the cinema for more than 40 years. fifth floor of the Grand d’Indy. With 66 m2, a bright living room and a large balcony from which he can see the Pyrenees in good weather, the retiree says he is “happy”. A relocation in “a good apartment, but smaller” was offered to him, but he “is not asking to leave, just to make a few small improvements”. “We can imagine all kinds of rehabilitations”, assures Michel Retbi. An argument supported by the president of the National Council of the Order of Architects, Christine Leconte, and the architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, winners of the 2021 Pritzker Prize.- Bad image – These buildings are seen as ” rabbit cages” and suffer from a “bad image”, regrets Claire Martin, member of the collective, regretting the “association made between the impoverishment of the district and the built environment”. Their destruction is part of the political will to transform the Mirail, undermined by drug trafficking. The authorities want to create social diversity by reducing the share of social housing below 50%. If the operation is expensive – the cost of the destruction alone is estimated at more than 87 million euros – Gaëtan Cognard, mayor of district, assumes this choice: “the architects think of the buildings, me of the inhabitants”. “It is a question of demolishing now for our future generations”, he argues, considering that the carbon emissions of a reconstruction to the standards current will be compensated in the long term. As for the lack of housing, “we are not going to stop all the demolition sites, especially when” they aim to “renew and improve the living environment of the inhabitants”, he believes. A goal that struggles to believe Brigitte Touillet, 69, resident opposed to the project. She cites another sector of the Mirail where “they have built little cubes everywhere”. “We are told that this has created more social diversity, but nothing has changed. herbs we want”, she says, referring to drug trafficking.cha/fpp/gvy



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