We use cookies from a third-party service (Google Analytics, AddThis) to collect data and improve your browsing activity. For more information, see our legal notices.
Logo pavillon de l'Arsenal
FAIRE 2019

Post concrete' alternative to the cement screed

Ciguë, Camille Bénard, Hugo Haas, Guillem Renard et Alphonse Sarthout, architects

Experimentation with an plaster material that represents an alternative to cement screed and concrete topping

Experimentation with an plaster material that represents an alternative to cement screed and concrete topping


On the one hand, there is an excessive use of concrete throughout the world, and, on the other, there are 30 million tons of waste generated annually by construction in the Île-de-France region. In light of these observations, the team proposes mobilizing these urban de-posits as potential materials for developing alternatives to concrete flooring.

In the context of the project to build a workshop-agency in Montreuil, including designing a new timber-frame building and partially demolishing existing buildings, they are experimenting with floor slabs made from materials recovered on site—inert excavated earth, crushed con-crete rubble, crushed bricks, and reused plaster. Earth, which is an abundant material, and plaster, which is infinitely recyclable, are both used as binders that are less energy-intensive than cement. 


Cigüe imagine the on-site design/build as an opportunity for transfer and ex-change between specialty trade contractors, including demolition, recycling, masonry, plas-terwork and earth construction. These experiments are characterized in a laboratory setting, including mechanical resistance and resistance to puncturing and to wear, with a view to po-tentially standardizing the materials. Life cycle assessments were conducted by an environ-mental consultancy in order to evaluate how relevant the development of a dedicated indus-try would be in the Île-de-France region.

Preparing gypsum plaster requires an average of ten times less energy than Portland cement as kiln temperatures need only to reach approximately 150°C, compared with 1,500°C for cement.

The use of gypsum and plaster in construction dates back thousands of years, and the use of plaster for floors is an ancient tradition documented as far back as the twelfth century in Europe.

Artificial cement was developed at the beginning of the nineteenth century and its use spread massively after the Second World War, ultimately becoming one of the most widely used building materials in the world.

As little as one hundred years ago, plaster was used extensively in the construction of the French capital thanks to the presence of gypsum deposits throughout the Paris basin. While its use has declined as Portland cement was popularized, plaster manufacturing is still cur-rently an active regional industry.

Ciguë, Camille Bénard, Hugo Haas, Guillem Renard, and Alphonse Sarthout, architects
Ciguë is an architectural studio based in Montreuil. Around twenty employees work on projects around the world in the fields of culture, retail, and housing.Founded in 2003, ciguë first started off as a carpentry business rooted in a design/build approach. This cross-disciplinary practice at the crossroads of design, building, and poetry is fundamental to our practice to this day. We view functions, uses, and context as inseparable from an instinctive and sensitive approach to place and material. We have a passion for details, the confrontation of scales, and saving on energy and resources. We welcome each project as an opportunity to ask new questions, set up a dialogue, adapt our processes and experiment. Our ever-evolving approach allows us to come up with sound made-to-measure proposals.

Plâtres Vieujot
Marc Potin is an engineer and plaster manufacturer based in Soisy-sous-Montmorency. He contributes his technical expertise in developing new floor plaster formulations right up to application.

Deconstruction teams
Several deconstruction scenarios are still being considered. Various approaches will require inventing new deconstruction schemes and will bring in other contractors for tasks ranging from the removal of finishing work to demolition, selective deconstruction, and the on-site sorting and crushing of materials.

Quand les filles s’en mêlent
Edith Serralheiro is an expert in floor covering and waxed concrete finishes. She is supporting us on the sanding and surface treatments for our materials.

Pierres de Montreuil
Loïc Dollet and Charlie Roseau are specialists of artisanal plasterwork. They create their very own gypsum plaster, manufactured using heritage production techniques. Dollet and Roseau are both instructors and involve vocational training in their projects. They help us explore on-site material recycling using a traditional plaster kiln on an artisanal scale.

Université Gustave Eiffel
Erwan Hamard and Bogdan Cazacliu are researchers at the GPEM laboratory, specialized in aggregates and processes of materials development. They are experts in the recycling of concrete rubble applied to construction and soil. They support us in developing our experimental protocol and for sample characterization in the lab, prior to potentially standardizing the material.

Le Sommer Environnement
Le Sommier Environnement is an environmental consultancy supporting us in developing a life cycle assessment methodology that takes into account the reuse of rubble on site as well as the use of gypsum plaster, which is a local material with a much lower carbon footprint than cement. They will also evaluate how relevant the development of a dedicated industry in the Île-de-France region would be.



  • 01 / 12    11:57
    [FAIRE 2021] En ce moment au @PavillonArsenal Le jury reçoit les 30 candidats finalistes de la 5e édition 🏆 RDV à… https://t.co/ZPyDXFXxql
  • 29 / 11    14:39
    RT @PKOMITES: ⏰L'annonce des 🏆 de la 5 ème éd de @FAIRE_PARIS c'est: 📆1/12 à 19h 📍@PavillonArsenal 👉w/ les représentants des directions d…
  • 26 / 11    10:23
    [FAIRE]🎉Annonce des projets lauréats de la 5e édition Mercredi 1er décembre à 19h @PavillonArsenal Venez découvri… https://t.co/C6W3nC2rGq