As a preamble to the Fab City Summit, the last MakeryMedialab of the season invited the association Fab City Grand Paris and the collective Quatorze at La Gaîté Lyrique on June 7. Focus on the project In My BackYard.
The “productive and solidarity city” was the theme for the last meeting of the season of the MakeryMedialab, at La Gaîté lyrique in Paris on June 7. As a Fab City Summit warm-up, the international meeting that will be held in Paris from July 11-13 kicking off FAB14, Francesco Cingolani and Minh Man Nguyen, from the association Fab City Grand Paris, presented the concept of the resilient and self-sufficient city, where production would be relocated via digital fabrication and short circuits. We will definitely tell you more about it since Makery is a partner of the event.
The objective of this meeting was to demonstrate that this international initiative also has its solidarity section. Romain Minod from the collective of architects Quatorze presented the “constructive hospitality” and citizen accommodation project In My BackYard (IMBY), that aims to fight urban sprawl and social exclusion.
Migrants, refugees, homeless…To address accommodation needs, the association Quatorze “is developing a social and solidarity architecture approach for a lively and resilient city.” Its members imagined a wooden tiny house to set up in your garden in order to accommodate a homeless person. “Living with housemates isn’t always easy and even less when they have suffered traumas linked to war or misery,” says Romain Minod to explain how the idea of the individual house appeared to them as a solution to intimacy problems.
Quatorze presents In My BackYard (in French):
In My BackYard is at present a tiny house prototype that can easily be moved with a trailer. The 20m2 surface area house is placed in the garden of owners willing to welcome a homeless person. Wood coming from French forests (plywood and Douglas fir for connoisseurs), cardboard for insulation and solar panels: the house has everything for accommodation that is respectful of the environment. The wood has no treatment. The Japanese technique of charred wood is used to withstand insects and bad weather.
The first Quatorze tiny house was set up in Montreuil in the garden of a couple willing to pass on “the welcome concept” to their children, relates Romain Minod. The hosts who wish to welcome a refugee (often “from Christian charity” or “left wing laypersons,” according to Romain Minod) meet the Samu social team beforehand to explain their motivations before meeting their future “housemate.” First occupant of In My Back Yard, Sadek, an Afghan, has been living in Charlotte and Dominique’s garden in Montreuil for five months and has just found a fixed term work contract in sales. He will soon leave the house at the back of the garden to settle in his own apartment. For “user feedback,” Sadek shared his opinion to improve the plans of future constructions. Favor zenithal light to “enlarge” the space and keep the winter garden were part of his suggestions.
Co-construction and conviviality
The cost price of a house reaches €35,000. Quatorze thought about a way of keeping the construction cost to a minimum by proposing training courses for a fee, open to all those who wish to learn the wood construction trades. As for the installation, the collective encourages hosts to lead their own participative funding campaign, for which each participant becomes a patron of the project engineering.
The co-construction building site, led by volunteers, is in itself a “conviviality bubble,” explains the architect.
The house is designed to accommodate a person for a few months (two years maximum), allowing time to find a roof and a stable job with help from the Samu social de Paris. The social assistance is funded by the inter-ministerial directorate for access to housing and accommodation. After five years of occupation, the houses will be sold to leisure centers.
Five houses will grow in gardens
The Ile-de-France region committed itself to fund the construction of five new small houses. Two of them will see the light of day in the garden of a property in Issy-les-Moulineaux and of a castle in the Essonne department that already has a hospitality legacy, welcoming people during the Second World War.
Houses with a bigger surface area (with two 4m2 rooms) able to accommodate families will also be designed. Quatorze says it “needs the maker community,” familiar with co-construction, to take root in other cities like Lille and Bordeaux. In an open source project manner, the association wants to pass on its methodology by documenting its project so that other people are able to implement In My BackYard in various cities in France and throughout the world. The Fab City Summit in July in Paris will offer the opportunity to interconnect this type of initiative with the other city members of the Fab City network.