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FAIRE 2022

Gas on all floors! The future of co-generation

DROO — Amrita Mahindroo, Michel da Costa Gonçalves & Clara Saade

Research into the controlled installation of alternative technologies in order to lower our dependence on natural gas to support an energy transition at the household and building scale.

Research into the controlled installation of alternative technologies in order to lower our dependence on natural gas to support an energy transition at the household and building scale.


“The ecological transition and energy dependence converge towards the eclipse of natural gas in residential settings and the need to convert individual heating/hot water systems. What was once a symbol of modernity must give way to new technologies such as heat pumps. These require outdoor units that are unsightly and generate noise and air pollution, and there is a lack of an infrastructure capable of accommodating them.

How can the uncontrolled aggregation of the outdoor units of heat pumps be anticipated, as well as that of the unfortunate but predictable proliferation of air-conditioning systems? How can the shift be supported, one household at a time, within the financial and organizational limits of co-ownership properties? How can the energy transition be ushered in without disfiguring the façades, generating noise pollution, or accumulating warm exhaust air in confined spaces?

The project envisions ‘concealed’ chimneys as a new type of shared infrastructure that can adapt to the different types of residential buildings and allow for the gradual and controlled installation of new appliances. Installed on the roof just like the chimney flues that punctuate the urban landscape, these slim, blade-shaped structures would come in addition to the various rooftop units, ducts, and protrusions that make up the beauty through chaos of the rooftops of Paris.

With their reflective and porous cladding, these variable-geometry chimneys consist of modular frames that define a potential volume proportionate to the needs and constraints of each building. They will help shrink the necessary clutter, coordinate utility ductwork, and reduce any inconveniences, all while facilitating the maintenance at the building scale.

We hope to provide a reasoned principle of anticipation for a household-driven energy transition. Installed in consultation with all residents, these chimney-type frames leave the time of the implementation to each household according to their means, while pushing on a comprehensive energy retrofit strategy.

Promoting this technological approach could help replace millions of residential gas water boilers without having to transform interior installations. Having a comprehensive strategy implies removing thousands of exhaust ducts and coordinating the routing of new utility conduits that must be coordinated without generating any inconveniences thanks to an installation that will prevent the uncontrolled and deleterious accumulation of external units.”

Founded by Michel Da Costa Goncalves and Amrita Mahindroo, Da Costa Mahindroo Architectes, or DROO is an award-winning architecture and urban planning studio.

Based in Paris and London, DROO takes a wholistic approach to design from the object to the urban. Each project is the result of a method that values its physical, intellectual and environmental context through a poetic and singular synthesis.

In parallel to its projects, the agency maintains a prospective attitude through a certain number of research projects, in particular the questions of adaptation of existing structures and the reuse of materials. At the same time, it conducts a series of studies on "distributed urbanism" questioning how diffuse but connected interventions can influence urban lifestyles.