Eric Arsenault Architecture

01 Marzy gendarmerie


  • Localisation : Marzy (58)
  • Program : offices, security rooms, garage, technical room, patio, 17 lodgings (1T2, 4 T3, 8 T4, 1 T6), grounds
  • Project type : new build
  • Surface : 2 800 m2
  • Cost : 4 014 000 € excl. VAT
  • Client : city of Marzy
  • Delivered: competition 2014
  • Photos : Julien Bruno-Mattiet
General organisation

One building gathers every gendarmerie functions: reception, administration, judicial center, garage. This results in ease of use and space saving allowing the creation of a central park in the heart of the project for families. This park offers a transition between workspace and the houses which are close to fields. The project refers itself to a village with a square (the park) extending a public facility (the service area) and from which small streets (alleys) lead to accomodation.

The administrative building

The building is a horizontal block, built on a slope. It is a stained concrete cuboid topped with a wooden frame over-roof.

The set was designed as a tool for the best possible response to the building functions: the over-roof serves as an awning to the entrances (wood frame covered with polycarbonate panels provide shelter from rain and UV filter). It serves as a sunscreen for the offices bay windows thanks to its wood blades. It is also a sunscreen for the flat roof by creating a ventilated and permanent shadow above the seal. Finally, at night, it is also a light reflector with a suspended roof aerial effect.

The openings (windows) are vertical slots of two types of widths which randomly punctuate the facade. All community offices have two windows: the whole project lives with natural light, both in periphery and centre.

Inside, all offices are set around a patio with a naturally lit functional working environment while reserving a small and discrete outdoor space for relaxation.


Houses are grouped by three. They are served by alleys that define vegetated semi private spaces and mark progress towards families privacy away from the office block visual field.

Accommodations are made of clay brick for the ground floor and timber frame for the first floor. This system allows prefabrication of the top floors with a time saving of two to four months for the entire site.

  • The houses all benefit from a double north-south orientation,
  • entrances, not at the front, are protected from the north by a canopy,
  • bay windows open to the south and overlook a shaded terrace (pergola) and a private garden,
  • accommodations provide a personal garage and a space in the alley or in front of the garage. The volumes’ shapes allow to generate external terraces sheltered from the neighbour’s view,
  • upstairs bedrooms overlook the terrace vegetated roofs,
  • several elements are part of a continuity with the main building development: wooden pergolas, vertical windows, the bases of the ground floor masonry and the wooden frame top part.
Environmental quality

The project aims be in the best possible relation to the site on which it operates. It optimizes a significant impact on the transformation of an agricultural parcel in a constructed space.

Several major themes without heavy technology are developed, interacting with each other:

  • rainwater management: a comprehensive system of rainwater management and treatment is performed in situ. The accomodation’s roof terrace are vegetated, providing thermal inertia and retention of rainwater. The ground processing of alleys is permeable and allows infiltration of rainwater. Landscaped swales (filtering planted ditches) collect all of the rainwater system and avoid rejection in the public network,
  • vegetation: a hedgerow system extends the boundaries between houses while allowing free movement at the plot end. Hedges also provide separation between alleys and garden end. Thirty trees are planted on the project (high rod for the park, medium rods along the alleys) and give freshness in summer
  • passive solar control is present on all buildings and thermal envelopes are implemented continuously floor / wall / roof

These dispositions allow maintenance and costs gains on rainwater systems, mechanical means of refreshment and expenditure on primary energy.