Ten houses for seniors in Batilly, Meurthe-et-Moselle

Frugal architecture: 20 inspiring examples in the Grand Est



There are already a large number of buildings that can be described as « frugal » and that demonstrate a new balance between tradition and modernity. This book highlights twenty recently built projects in the pioneering Grand Est region, where local groups (in Lorraine and Alsace) are among the most committed. By sharing these inspiring examples, the intention of the Movement for Happy and Creative Frugality is to inspire professionals, decision-makers and citizens to get involved in the necessary paradigm shift, which is beginning to take shape.

Frugality on the ground

Frugality begins with the choice of location and the drafting of the programme, and sometimes raises the question: should we still build? It calls for a reasoned use of the land, respect for the site and enhancement of the territory. It encourages the transformation of the « already there » to give new life to existing buildings. It fights against the sprawl of the landscape and can go as far as the sanctuary of agricultural land, in order to guarantee local food production. Land frugality is illustrated here both by the preference given to the restructuring of a historic monument to house the headquarters of the Vosges du Nord Regional Nature Park and by the transformation of rural buildings with new functions: conversion of a farm into a bakery and a chapel into a cultural space. An eco-responsible approach to the use of land is also expressed by the revitalisation of the town centre of Joinville through the renovation of a dilapidated building complex. And when it is really necessary to build, as in the case of the ten housing units for senior citizens in Batilly, choosing a hollow tooth in the centre of the village helps to avoid urban sprawl.

« We wanted the architecture to be sober, precise and meticulous in order to favour the quality of use and its integration into the rural environment.

Bagard & Luron, architects of the project

These ten communal rental dwellings for the elderly, built on a 0.5 hectare meadow in the heart of the village, were arranged in three adjoining groups. Their layout follows the slope of the land, with pedestrian paths and a small square.

The volumetry is marked by the wooden skylights that emerge from the green roof terraces, bringing the southern sun to the east-west facing houses and supporting the solar panels. The exterior walls are made of honeycomb brick and clad with terracotta tiles. The inhabitants have a living room and one or two bedrooms. Openings in two or even three directions allow for natural ventilation.

Each house is entered through a small garden and a wooden carport. The kitchen, the hinge between domestic life and neighbourly relations, is always turned towards the public space. In the living room with dining room, the high ceiling and the exposed wooden beams give a feeling of space and a warm atmosphere. The dimensions have been designed to make life easier for senior citizens: the doors are wide and their number reduced to a strict minimum; the window sill in the bedrooms is at the height of a chair. The living room and bedroom open onto a large terrace and a private garden, often transformed into a vegetable garden.

Technical specifications :

Location: Batilly, France

Year of construction: 2019

Surface area: 659 m2

Construction cost: 1.836.000 € excl.

Owner: Municipality of Batilly

Project manager: Bagard & Luron


To go further

  • The book « Architecture frugale: 20 inspiring examples in the Grand Est » is available in full (French) on the website of the Happy and Creative Frugality Movement: