A collective of architects asks a moratorium on the requalification project that is emerging in this district of Toulouse, a stone’s throw from the Mirail. Since the 2000s, Toulouse has been working on a restructuring project in the Reynerie district. Many bars have already fallen, at least six.
A new urban renewal project was launched in 2018 and the public inquiry has just ended for the demolition of five other buildings. 961 dwellings are concerned. The town hall highlights the need to break the isolation of the inhabitants and the need for social diversity.
A proposal totally refused by the inhabitants. Some have not wanted to sell their homes for over 10 years now. These 17 owners believe that the Reynerie buildings could be rehabilitated because they are very beautiful, very practical and that they leave very pleasant green spaces for the inhabitants. The others are tenants and many refuse to be moved for fear of not finding something better at such low cost. The rents are effectively loyal social workers.
Residents who were beginning to lose hope, especially when the investigating commissioner gave a favorable opinion for the project in 2021. (For the first public inquiry, the investigating commissioner gave an unfavorable opinion in 2017). But architects have decided to fight alongside them. In particular because they believe that we cannot undo this set which was designed by the architect Georges Candilis (a pupil of Le Corbusier). They ask a moratorium and an architectural competition on the district.
Michel Retbi is part of the collective of architects. He repeats that these the buildings are of remarkable quality . “The apartments are large, bright, the likes of which have not been seen for years. There is a visual quality with double orientation. Not overlooked, thanks to the Y-shape of the tripods. There is an exceptional natural environment, there is also great flexibility for development and energy renovation. Today, these are very high quality accommodations. It is for this reason that we must stop. We need a moratorium and an urban planning and architecture competition because for the city of Toulouse, it is an operation in the public interest and not real estate development. The district must be completely requalified by relying on this extremely positive potential. We can, given the quality of the tripods and the environment, intelligently requalify the district and make it a real and beautiful district of Toulouse.”
The town hall’s project is clearly to work on the social mix and the gentrification of the district with less social housing, smaller buildings but also individual houses. And above all, the town hall argues that the rehabilitation project for the Candilis complex would be far too expensive. Gaëtan Cognard mayor of the Mirail/Reynerie/Bellefontaine district and municipal councilor in Toulouse and it is he who is in charge of the project. “It is an important architectural heritage. There are basins around the Reynerie lake that we are rehabilitating. The objective is to rehabilitate, but sometimes for reasons specific to a building it is impossible. I Take the example of the Messager building. A rehabilitation was taken into account. It needed 110,000 euros per dwelling. You multiply that by 265 dwellings. We arrive at more than 28 million euros. Figures that seem totally overestimated to the inhabitants and the collective of inhabitants.
A letter to Roselyne Bachelot
The architect collective has not yet had no response from the mayor. They therefore requested an interview with Mayor Jean-Luc Moudenc. They write to the ministers of culture and housing Roselyne Bachelot and Emmanuelle Wargon. This collective is notably by the cabinet Lacaton and Vassal. The two partners are Pritzker Prize winners in 2021 (equivalent to the Nobel Prize in architecture.) Without a moratorium, new demolitions in the district are carried out in 2023.