The project "Feuillette house"



The Feuillette house

    Today

The "maison Feuillette"  was built in 1921 by Feuillette, an engineer who was looking for solutions to construction problems following the war. The house is at Montargis, 90kms from Paris. It has been for sale for one year.

On a plot of land 1500m2, the 2 storey house covers 80m2 and is aligned along the road. In the rear garden there is a shady terrace. Despite the ivy which completely covers the house, the render shows no sign of deterioration, proof of its durability. In the rear part of the land, there is a 100m2 shed built using the same method of composite light timber frame, but with no infill.

To know more about the construction technique, consult the article S&V of 1921 (in French) or a summary in your language.

To see photos of the house, go to the sale advertisement, as long as it is still active.


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 1921

The construction of this house attracted the interest of Gustave Lamarche, a scientific journalist for ‘La Science et la Vie’ (Science and Life magazine). He gives us an article of the era. You can find a summary in your own language or consult the original article in French here.


   

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THE NEED TO ACT

The article relates to what extent the house is both contemporary (modular construction, lending to pre-fabrication, use of varying local materials) and innovative. All good reasons why we intend to protect this house from any damage or degradation.


    An exemplary construction

    • It is acknowledged globally (and often cited in the domain of eco-construction) as a unique and exemplary building, being both modern and ancient.
    • Despite certain features of its era (single glazing in particular), the house presents energy efficiency standards equivalent to the 2005 french ones (a rate of 159kWh/m2 per year based on actual measured consumption levels).
    •  The house is perfectly preserved, having been subjet to few alterations. Any changes have neither changed the structure of the house nor its original designated purpose.

        A unique opportunity

      • This building thus proves the durability of straw bale construction, providing a priceless example to reassure insurers and jurisdiction.
      • The house is a precious tool to give weight to recent straw bale construction building code. It withstands the test of time, speeding up insurance enquiries, sometime challenging for new constructors.
      • The house is an excellent testing ground for better understanding of thermal and hydrophilic phenomenons happening in an inhabited straw bale construction. This will help to advance knowledge of these skills, plasters and renders in particular.



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      THE FEUILLETTE PROJECT


      Who are we ?

      The  RFCP (French straw bale building network) brings together different actors of the field (professionals, associations, self builders). With more than 600 members, 3 employees and a committee of 12 active volunteers, it is a significant national voice piece. It operates on a not for profit, transparent and democratic basis. Its intention is to forward the cause and technique of straw building for the benefit of all, through actions such as:

      •     representing straw building on a national level, with laboratory experiments and research helping to determine building standards and course accreditation
      •     linking all parties involved : individuals, public collectives, builders, architects, public and private site managers
      •     participating in international research projects, and collating of expertise in straw build domains
      •     encouraging local economies and exchange groups.


      Our works

      The recent publication of a straw bale building construction code, following approval by regulation institutions after 4 years of work, constitutes official recognition of this construction method. It designates straw as an accepted building material, facilitating usual access to insurances and the public market for professionals (including buildings open to the public).

      At the same time, a training for trainers is being established by the RCFP to enable both professionals and individuals to have a recognised  qualification, permitting  their individual and collective projects. The RFCP is also instrumental in the development of this qualification, supervising technological progress, and liaising with European standards through meetings and collective projects.



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      The Feuillette project


      Our appeal is for donations to purchase La Maison Feuillette, which has been for sale for the last year. We believe the preservation in perpetuity of this house in trust will serve all parties, and be protected from property speculators.  If the necessary sum is not raised, the RFCP will resort to other funds possible, for example, those for heritage preservation. The finance will also be used to publicise the existence of this house and its undeniable qualities.

      In the event of successful purchase, our programme will be as follows :

      • To run renovations which respect the original construction, like repairing of the few damaged areas, replacing single glazing windows, interior furnishings…
      • To measure its thermal performance (energy consumption) before and after renovations, to show how efficient natural materials are.
      • To set up some data loggers in the walls to detect the flux of heat and humidity to further our understanding of the performance of this kind of building.
      • To utilize at best the communication/education potential of this building : scientific tests and documentation, instructional visits…..
      • To keep the place alive with various network activities : conferences, meetings, courses…
      • To make the building self-financing through income generating projects (guest house, museum..)



      BE A DONATOR


         The network is YOU !


      Without its numerous subscribers and volunteers, the RFCP would be nothing. It lives through and for its members, functioning on a budget too limited for the importance of this task. Without your help, the RFCP can not raise the 250 000€ needed to buy la maison Feuillette.

      We need you !

      In supporting this mission, you lend strength to a human scaled network dedicated to straw building. The network offers you in return the guarantee of preserving house Feuillette, working actively for the development and recognition of eco-construction, considered by its members to be a force to reckon with in face of the many challenges of our century.


          Your legal rights


      Your donation gives you access to information on utilisation of the funds raised and the future of the house, via a newsletter. Your donation do not involve your responsibility for the preservation of the building. It gives you no decision-making rights regarding the management of the property. To be involved in collective decisions, you can become a member of the RFCP.


      To inform visitors of its benefactors, the names of all contributors will be written in the house, on a clay based plaster.



          Commitment and guarantees

      RFCP is committed to :
      • Devote your donations to the preservation and improvement of the Feuillette house and its site,
      • Protect house Feuillette from any intervention that could damage its continuing existence,
      • Respect the technical integrity, cultural and architectural identity of the building,
      • Promote natural construction and human activities of low environmental impact,
      • Encourage spread and give value to the ecology of human building acts and relationships,
      • Give public access to this place for cultural and educational purposes,
      • Give you information about actions we fulfil thanks to your donations.


      The RFCP thanks you for your support !




      LEGAL STRUCTURES


      RFCP is the legal representative of this project, and would be the owner of the property via a judicial structure representing the network, managing its admin and finance.

      Your donations will be entirely invested in this purchase, intiated and guided by the network. It is open to partnership with other collaborators (public bodies and groups in particular). In the event of purchase, RFCP carries the deciding vote with regard to management of finances. Any excess funds generated by the appeal would be reserved for maintenance and cultural promotion of the place. Any transfer of funds would be for research and development projects led by RFCP, in the furthering of straw building. Transparency is guaranteed through our registered accounts consultable on request.

      If RFCP should cease to exist, the property would be made available to other relevant bodies who further ecological building methods and responsible energy management. Any profits would be reserved for activities in accord with the humanist and environmental values of natural building, such as listed in the RFCP ethics and codes of practice.