Eric Arsenault Architecture

01 Imphy gendarmerie

Gendarmerie and housing

  • Localisation : Imphy (58)
  • Program : administration, garages, 11 lodgings
  • Project type : new build
  • Surface : 2 700 m2
  • Cost : 2 500 000 € excl. VAT
  • Client : city of Imphy
  • Work duration : 18 months
  • Delivered: 2013
  • Photos : Christophe Deschanel
General organisation

The project aims to be clear and functional. It separates the offices at the front of the project, giving onto the Commes street, from 11 lodgings at the rear, away from the public space. Each of these ensemble is served by a separate entrance, but one can go from the main entrance to the housing service road, through a lane under the awning.

Services and technical spaces

A large awning connects the services space (reception desk, administration, judicial pole) to the technical space (garages).

This awning has several functions :

  • it connects the volumes among themselves
  • it marks out the police public space,
  • it provides a protected entrance for the public from the crossing of the gate,
  • it creates a shelter from rain between the services and technical spaces.

The two windows on the awning roof provide additional natural light and mark the entrance space.

From a functional point of view:

  • The public is directly admitted under the awning near the gate
  • The garages are located opposite the entrance with a direct output which avoids maneuvering, allowing speed in an emergency.
  • The judicial center is accessible by vehicle under the awning with a separate entrance directly from the public entrance (intimacy + security).
  • A covered walkway connects the administrative space to the technical space.

Regarding the volume: a high volume (awning), corresponding to the garages, goes with a low volume - administration (vegetated roof terrace). The garage receives the same treatment as the administration (same type of concrete wall and link via the awning).

The whole is a light box which captures, for all its spaces, natural light. Thus the central circulation between offices is topped by a large skylight that illuminates the central circulation.

The offices each have sunshades made of perforated metal sheet to avoid dazzlement from the West or the East. The facades are made of stained concrete. The wall surface has cavities shaped like shingle (reminder of the Loire nearby), this is obtained by resin molds placed in the formwork before casting.


Accommodations are voluntarily established with various sizes and are grouped according to different typologies (T3, T4, T5) for diversity and individualisation. They are grouped in pairs which saves space on the small plot, but they are interspersed with garages and gazebos to maintain their individual character. They all have a double orientation ENE WSW. They are characterized by garages set back from the street with the following benefits:

  • no imposition of unwelcoming aligned garage facades on the street .
  • additional parking space at the front of each garage under a gazebo designed for this purpose (shadow + revegetation)
  • at the rear there is a private outdoor space thanks to the protection of protruding garages which reduces the need for a fence to feel at home.