France - a vertical housing estate with apartments that can be modified/extended over time


In Bègles, France, LafargeHolcim is taking part in “Les Hauts-Plateaux” project. This is a vertical housing estate that offers an innovative and affordable solution to the problem of urban sprawl. The individual houses' decks are built in a stack and owners can extend them or alter them over time as their needs change.

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The LafargeHolcim project is unique in France, and ties in with the Bègles town council's housing policies:

  • promoting innovative forms of housing
  • combining the fight against urban sprawl with the advantages of a house (modularity, possible expansion, garden)
  • offering an affordable price (€2,700 per square meter) to first-time buyers, particularly young families with children.


LafargeHolcim offers an innovative solution under the motto: It's your own home - a surface that you can alter or extend as your desires or needs change inside a block of flats.

This is the idea of "Les Hauts-Plateaux", a vertical housing estate in the town of Bègles, near Bordeaux. Each floor is divided into units of 100 m² to 120 m², made up of:

  • 50% living space
  • 25% garden
  • 25% transformable space.

Alongside the town council, the architect, Christophe Hutin, and the property developer, Domofrance, LafargeHolcim has worked on the core element of the concept: the structure of slabs supported by thin beams with a very long span, achieved thanks to the association of conventional concrete with special concretes:

  • high-strength concrete for the beams,
  • impermeable concrete for the slabs,
  • pervious concrete for exterior surfaces.


Thanks to their knowledge of materials, the LafargeHolcim teams have devised solutions which will give the best performance at the lowest cost, including a guarantee of durability for the developer.

"Lafarge[Holcim] has shown that ecological housing can lead to innovation, and that includes concrete manufacturers, which just goes to show that there is no opposition between environmentalists and those who work intelligently with concrete," said Noël Mamère, the mayor of Bègles, at the project presentation.