Expanding or creating hollow spaces in an existing building!

Autumn 2016 marked the return of the ARCHIZINC CAMPUS architecture competition. This 5th session, officially launched on 1 October last in Paris, confirms its environmental orientation and its architectural ambition: generate the interest of architecture students concerning the issue of urban densification, especially solutions using roof extensions (previous edition) and requalification (this edition)

This event, organised by VMZINC, takes place every two years. The 2016-2017 projects will be evaluated next April and the results will be revealed in June 2017 in a prestigious venue in Paris.

Theme of the contest:

Roof extensions facilitate urban integration and renewal

The previous edition of the competition (2015-2016), devoted to roof extensions (i.e. building lightweight structures on the roofs of existing buildings), awarded prizes to 4 highly original projects featuring various types of supporting buildings, from private houses to public buildings.

During the deliberations, we were interested to observe the high proportion of roof extension projects for small collective buildings constructed between the 1950s and the 1970s. A lot of candidates rightly designed their roof extension with a view to improving thermal performances. But also, and above all, better urban integration and renewal of their building for people living in the neighbourhood and occupants.

In the 2016-2017 edition of ARCHIZINC CAMPUS, we wanted to return to this typology of collective buildings dating from the 1950s to the 1970s, as it is rather interesting. These concrete constructions are generally quite solid and can easily support one- or two-storey roof extensions. These programmes were developed all over Europe and provide a huge choice of situations and configurations. Lastly, while these collective housing buildings may have already featured in rehabilitation programmes for their envelopes, simple upgrading or external reinforcement of insulation, they are now the subject of more detailed reflections with a view to adapting them to the current period.

Re-qualification: much more than a simple roof extension!

It is for all these good reasons that these collective buildings are at the core of the 2016-17 edition of the ARCHIZINC CAMPUS competition. We also decided to enrich the content of the competition by dealing with the subject of re-qualification, which goes beyond roof extensions.

What is re-qualification? To simplify things, let’s say it is a way of re-thinking the functionalities of a building by adding and/or re-allocating spaces to the entire building by:

  • Expanding (work on the thickness of the envelope, where volumes are added laterally)
  • Emptying (parts of the existing volume are made hollow to free up communal areas or integrate terraces or other planted areas)
  • Roof extensions (adding volumes or communal spaces on the roof of buildings)

So re-qualification is a useful alternative to more common, purely technical forms of rehabilitation. Recent examples (London water tower, Porter House in New York, Bois-le-Prêtre tower in Paris) demonstrate the pertinence of this approach when it is designed for and with occupants.

A competition for students working individually or in teams

One last point should be specified: the ARCHIZINC CAMPUS competition is accessible to all students, individually or in teams, registered in an architecture school. Projects can be elaborated within a class context supervised by a teacher using the competition and its subject as a pedagogical resource, or independently.

Below you will see all the details of the programme, registration methods and links to reports on the previous edition featuring interviews of the winners.


I am taking advantage of this Post to appeal to architecture schools in the North of Europe, as we would like more of them to participate in this competition!

Intensely zinc!

Roger Baltus
Engineer - Architect
VMZINC Communication Director

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