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FAIRE 2019

Gypsum Plaster, Study for a post-concrete slab

ciguë, Camille Bénard, Julien Franc Wahlgreen, 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

FEBRUARY 2022 : Gypsum Plaster in Télérama
Télérama highlights the study conducted by ciguë architects in an article dedicated to the exhibition Béton de Plâtre, presented until February 6, 2022 at the Pavillon de l'Arsenal.

Study for a post-concrete slab
Presented from January 20 to February 6, 2022

Once widely used in Parisian construction, the use of plaster, which totally whitewashed the capital in the 17th century, has diminished considerably with the advent of modern concrete and construction materials. At a time when we are reexamining our manufacturing methods to find more virtuous and less carbon-intensive solutions, the architects of the ciguë agency are studying the potential of this endemic material. 

Their research, conducted with the support of the FAIRE project gas pedal, proposes in particular to explore the possible use of gypsum in the manufacture of screed instead of cement, which is responsible for nearly 30.3% of the building sector's CO2 emissions. Their study also intends to demonstrate the qualities of gypsum as a binder capable of replacing natural aggregates, sand and gravel whose reserves are running out, with building rubble: bricks, tiles or crushed concrete, ...

The exhibition Béton de plâtre and the accompanying publication retrace two years of research to explore the possible assemblies for making post cement screeds. Through samples, test results, prototypes and films, this exhibition reports on laboratory studies as well as experiments conducted in real conditions. This event is also part of a longer research process that will lead to the construction of a mixed-use building in Montreuil, then to the in situ analysis of the durability of this new material.

With the support of the Vieujot gypsum processing plant, located in Soisy-sous-Montmorency in the Val d'Oise, researchers from the Aggregates and Materials Processing Laboratory in the Materials and Structures Department of Gustave Eiffel University and the Le sommer design office, the results of this research confirmed the initial hypotheses. The gypsum concretes based on the reuse of mixed bricks and tiles have a very good resistance to compression, punching and abrasion. Those based on reused concrete could be mobilized for their capacity of mass and acoustic insulation. And, whatever their formulation, they have an excellent balance sheet with regard to the use of natural resources while emitting significantly less greenhouse gases than a conventional concrete screed.

Anxious to explore other modes of fabrication at the crossroads of building trades and know-how, for the architects of hemlock, it is not a question of promoting "all-plaster", but rather of nourishing a more global reflection in the face of the excesses and constraints that characterize our era so well. The plaster concrete project testifies "to our ability, as architects, to take a new look at available resources, to redefine our relationship to materials and to continue to question the systemic reflexes at work in contemporary construction practice."

Exhibition from January 20 to February 6, 2022
Publication on sale at the Pavillon de l'Arsenal bookstore and online 
Research conducted by ciguë Architects 
Study for a post-concrete slab, january 2022

Awarded project FAIRE 2019
Published by Pavillon de l'Arsenal, January 2022
Graphic design : Syndicat
13 € / 17,5 x 25 cm / 59 pages.

Book in French only. 


ciguë, Camille Bénard, Julien Franc Wahlgreen, Guillem Renard et Alphonse Sarthout
At the crossroads of architecture, design and installation, ciguë reactivates archetypes to produce contemporary worlds.
Its projects are crossed by experimentation, the nudity of the devices and the radicality of collage. 
Bringing together a team of 20 people in Montreuil, the workshop is the theater of elaborations of places and materials. By de-hierarchizing the scales and by decompartmentalizing the know-how, ciguë reconciles our way of living the world and of building it.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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