The firebreak garden

A test structure for the forest protection against fire in the Maures

Frédéric Bouvier, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Fifty years after Algeria’s independence and the abandonment of Harkis, its army reserves, France has broken its silence and finally looks back on this dark period of history. France has engaged in a fight against ignorance; it immobilizes the vestige of this period to mobilize memory and reflection, and employs memorials, or other monuments, as a means of public recognition. However, by attempting to achieve this memorable through an inert monumental form, we slowly relieve ourselves of the duty to remember. The commemoration was overshadowed by the physical memorial, which was designed to blend little by little into the nearby landscape, and failed to remind us of the memories themselves. So then, how should this be done?

We can overcome the crushing burden of History, the duty of memory and its institutionalization, by invoking the memory involuntarily. One means of commemorating the Harkis it is to establish the “hameau de forestage” (the camps hosting the Harkis’ families) in the South of France. This will serve to remind us about importance of the forestry work, which includes reforestation and fighting forest fires. In other words, Harkis’ history and the Mediterranean forest go hand in hand to respond to a current issue: the firebreaks’ management and maintenance. Harkis’ memory is indirectly materialized by the construction of a test structure on the Varois territory, a farming garden that belongs to Forest Protection Against Fire (DFCI).

The project proposes (forecasts) the construction and the supply of water of a cistern FPAF for firemen of 40m3 working by harvesting the upstream water flow of the site thanks to “barradine” system (it is a kind of ditch constructed on the mountains side in a specific manner in order to collect the rainwater), and on the downstream section of the site by a streams’ spillway. Ten Percent of the annual rainwater’s quantity (1344ml in 2014) should be drained in the tanks, which would be full in one semester. During the rest of the year, the collected water would be accumulated in the intermediary tanks, and then distributed on several mountainside terraces where different varieties would be tested. A forest shelter put on the cistern will welcome the hikers of the GR90 that goes from Lavandou to Notre-Dame-des-Anges.

Campus Masters Wettbewerb

November / Dezember 2015


Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Prof. Luca Ortelli






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