Cité Maraîchère: Facility for Urban Agriculture and Sustainable Food


Architects: ilimelgo
Location: Romainville, France
Area: 2,060.00 m2
Year: 2021
Photography: Sandrine Marc, Guillaume Maucuit Lecomte and Paul Lengereau

The Cité Maraîchère is a new municipal facility for urban agriculture and sustainable food as well as the location of agricultural, social, architectural and technical innovation. Within a neighborhood undergoing regeneration, exemplary in its rationality and constructive logic, the building is a link between traditional and modern market gardening practices.

In the face of climate change, future major ecological and food challenges, along with projected population growth by 2050, urban agriculture is considered a solution with great potential for tomorrow. “Architecture for living”, the Cité Maraîchère is the result of a political decision to participate in an ecological transition.

The objectives of Corinne Valls (mayor of Romainville), the instigator of the project, were multiple: to promote short supply chains, create jobs, guarantee residents quality food, develop a social community economy and raise awareness among residents about the management of energy resources.

As early as 2013, the revised Plan Local d’Urbanisme (PLU – Local Development Plan) authorized construction for agricultural use throughout the district. The new municipality intends to use this tool, inherited from the previous mandate, to cement ambitious social and ecological policy within the new Agence Municipale de la Transition Écologique et Solidaire (ACTES). Before the “Cité”, the Marcel Cachin neighborhood, composed of large public housing developments from the 1960s, was subject to a redevelopment operation as part of the initial Agence Nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine (ANRU).

Beyond its primary urban agriculture function, the Cité Maraîchère addresses urgent current urban themes: land management and land use, air quality and reduction of heat islands, the development of community networks, etc. It is an innovative project open to the city that fits in with the urban dynamics of the region.

With the homogeneous composition of its façades, it is a suitable and an adaptable building that optimizes the conditions for its agricultural vocation: daylight, solar and thermal protection, rainwater harvesting, etc. Designed as a “controlled” bioclimatic environment, it combines both ventilation systems and daylight within high-performance thermal envelopes. In response to the functional requirements of the brief, the design intent is consistent with the objective of efficiency in the service of sustainable farming.

Integrated within the site, the Cité Maraîchère is an educational building that is conducive to exchanges in support of the neighborhood community and that transmits the values and principles of the circular economy.