Involve the various stakeholders in the conversion of former military barracks

Paris, France Relations to stakeholders
Responsible Housing Award
“Keeping the historical aspect while adding new elements e.g. public garden, nursery”



On the site of a former military barracks sold by the government, in the 12th district on the east side of Paris, Paris Habitat is conducting an ambitious construction project of six new buildings, the demolition of part of the existing buildings and the rehabilitation and renewal of five more.
The 20,000 sq. m. plot will be home to 600 housing units, 50% of which are earmarked to student and family social housing, 20% to controlled rents units and 30% to private market rents, a day nursery with 66 cribs, some artists’ ateliers, communal spaces, one shop, underground parking spaces, a 4000 m² public garden and 3 plots that will help enable the place to open up towards the city.

Issues tackled

The overall objective is to make better use of a vast area of almost 20,000 sq. m. that during the construction period will be rendered
into a place for encounters, intergenerational exchanges between residents of the neighbourhood, animating the city and offering
other cultural and social services for residents and Parisians.

On this site of a former military barracks, on which the first buildings constructed date back to 1665, an ambitious program will take
place involving a complex that combines accommodation with care services that best meets the needs and expectations of the
residents and the territory, bringing together the neighbourhood citizens, the local authorities and associations.

The project will be harmoniously integrated in the city, leaving the old barracks’ walls in place to reconnect with the life and identity
of the district while preserving its exceptional, historic character.

Actors involved

  • Paris Habitat
  • League of Bird Protection

Actions carried out

  • Workshops by 6 teams of prime contractors, twice a week for 1 year
  • The establishment of a ‘Project house’
  • Adjustments to respect biodiversity: Creation of a public garden
  • Transformation of the military barracks to social housing
  • Creation of a nursery


Success factors identified by Paris Habitat:
▶ A shared leadership and a collaborative learning work right from the start of the project with all stakeholders –
architects, inhabitants and decision makers.
▶ All dimensions were taken into account: urban, architectural, economic, social and environmental.

The benefits include:
▶ A participatory citizen approach that put people at heart of the decision making process.
▶ The whole project was adapted to the needs of the inhabitants and the territory in a co-productive way.
▶ The environmental and economic impact was positive in many ways with a new approach to deconstruction promoting the values of circular economy through recycling
waste into new resources thus reducing the purchase of new material, structuring alternative channels for the
reuse of construction materials and encouraging the creation of new tools that enable the material-related exchange between the various Paris Habitat programs.
▶ The creation of intergenerational social ties through the various events occurring on site.
▶ The opening of a vocational rehabilitation centre for vulnerable people housed on the site.

Why it works

The teamwork during the workshops by 6 teams of prime contractors, twice a week for 1 year to collectively and concertedly develop
an architectural project, was Paris Habitat’s first initiative of this type.

The off-plan property sale (OPS), for the first time in France, is a new system proposed by the Macron Act of 6 August 2015. This is an innovation not only for Paris Habitat but for all other social housing associations, too.
The establishment of a ‘Project house’, its staffing, and public meetings from the start to present the project, to inform and obtain expectation feedback, allowed strong involvement and cooperation in terms of its scale and the duration of the project added up to the value of the initiative.

Biodiversity was also taken into consideration with the discovery during construction of the nest of a rare bird, kestrel falcons; hence the adjustment of the building works to preserve this species and the organising of environmental activities in partnership with the League for Bird Protection (LPO).



More information

Number of staff: 2.959
Number of dwellings managed by the organization: 123.136
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