Fontevraud under renovation: blending heritage and sustainable development

Published on 26 March 2012 - Updated 14 December 2012
Cet article date d'il y a plus de 9 ans

A works campaign has begun at Fontevraud Abbey over recent months: creation of work areas, renovation of Saint-Lazare Hotel, construction of an energy centre … The objective of the cultural project is to introduce contemporary forms and uses in a heritage site spanning several centuries. An information and mediation point will give visitors insight into the different stages of these works.

Construction of an energy centre 

For the purposes of converting the site's energy, this project is being undertaken by the specialist firm Hervé Thermique between January and autumn 2012 for heating to be switched on next winter. It makes use of renewable energies, wood heating and photovoltaic panels, which will replace fuel and electric heating. 

In concrete terms, the project's ecological objective is to halve the Abbey's energy consumption and quarter its greenhouse gas emissions – all the while providing 100% energy supplies to the premises. 

This centre is the first building to be built at the Abbey for almost a century. Its location at the foot of the hill opposite the abbey church chevet calls for complete integration in the site – through its partly buried design

It will house a wood-burning room, technical service workshops, an educational room (for understanding how the system works and retracing the site's energy history) and storage areas.  The photovoltaic panels are due to be put on the roof in terraces, covered with a lawn on which a scenic area will be used for hosting open-air concerts and performances. 

Supplies will be obtained locally: the wood pellets that will fuel the burner are produced in the Saumur region and surrounding areas. 

Development of functional areas 

The work on the façades and roofs of the Saint-Benoît district is being conducted alongside the fitting out of rooms for seminars, artists' studios and school activities. The work is expected to be completed by the spring of 2013. 

On 1 January 2012, the Saint-Lazare Hotel closed for several months for modernisation and renovation works undertaken jointly by the head architect of historical monuments and architect designer Patrick Jouin. 

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© ABFPM / Olivier Sampson

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