101 CDC

"La nécessité du plein" is a study on insulation, an element of architecture that remains relatively outside the field of architectural ideas. It is the exploration of a pairing, that of lime and hemp, an assemblage that raises new formal, aesthetic, material and representational opportunities. It records the experience of an architect-photographer-engineer trio, united by their activity as researchers and a shared fascination for the subject. It explores, culturally and practically, the role of insulating materials in architecture. By shifting research and theory to unexplored areas of investigation, it aims is to place insulation at the heart of architectural concerns and to give it a true ontological status. Insulation is an invisible part of construction, considered in terms of its limitations. Its fragility requires protection, its lightness must be held down, its unsightliness demands to be hidden, and its technicality excludes it from architectural culture. The marriage of lime and hemp, however, simplifies the constructive process by forming a single substantial thickness: structure and insulation are now inseparable. An evolution of the structural rationalism of the 19th century, the lime-hemp pairing creates the opportunity for a shift towards a kind of thermal rationalism, an architecture of insulating solidity.


Barrault Pressacco, architects, teachers and researchers
Giaime Meloni, photographer and visual researcher
Sandrine Marceau, doctor in materials science

Research labs:

Observatoire de la condition suburbaine (OCS), EAV&T
Laboratoire de comportement physico-chimique et durabilité des matériaux, Université Gustrave Eiffel

Research program:

Caisse des dépôts