Les Petites Affiches : textilisation of architectural memory through the transformation of rubble

This paper will introduce a practice-based and design-led investigation using Les Petites Affiches– a rehabilitation project by the architectural agency SCAU - as a key site of experimentation for a PhD project fully integrated in the daily life of the agency. The research, informed by a textile design practice, investigates new modes of transmission based on the in situ transformation of rubble - as an alternative to «tabula rasa» or strict restoration. Instead of being thrown away, rubble are conceptually and materially integrated in the new architectural project as for instance : pigments, fabrics or floor surfaces. The transmaterialised memory of the past building therefore becomes a constitutive component of the future structure. In the case study of Les Petites Affiches, a Parisian building dating back to 1922 and subject to rehabilitation between 2017-2018, 111.39 kg of rubble were collected to explore how they could be textilised. In other words, the experiment - developed during an on-site-residency -, focused on how these rubble could be appropriated through textile processes to give life to new architectural materials. For example, some fragments were grinded and sieved to achieve the fine grain of a pigment before being mixed with a binder. The ink obtained, charged with the site’s history, was printed on textile using silk screen methods. Bringing together two materials: textile and stone as a mean to reveal the different strata of the site’s story, the outcomes of this process will be the occasion to discuss the potential of conceiving and materialising an architecture informed by its past but also imbued with more suppleness.