France - Improving the Quality of Social Housing with Prefabricated Modules


In Bordeaux, the architects Lacaton & Vassal, Druot and Hutin transformed three inhabited social buildings with 530 units into beautiful dwellings with redefined qualities and comfort. They use prefabricated modules like winter gardens to offer pleasant outdoor spaces to the residents.



  • Creating responsible, sustainable social housing units
  • Increasing the living conditions of the inhabitants of social building units in Bordeaux
  • Improving the urban dwelling image


Built in the early 60's, the urban housing counts in total more than 4000 dwellings. Of the complex three 10 to 15 floors high building gather 530 dwellings. The innovative system gives the ability of transforming them into more beautiful dwellings with redefined qualities and comfort in order to improve the living conditions. In 2011 the architects Lacaton & Vassal, Druot and Hutin raised the living quality in 530 dwellings in three buildings of the “Grand Parc” urban housing complex in Bordeaux. The innovative system is based on extensions of flats with prefabricated modules. 

Due to the conservation of the existing building the project costs are kept relatively low, as no important interventions on the structure, the stairs or the floors are made. This approach on economy makes it possible to focus on generous extensions like winter gardens and balconies with prefabricated modules. These widen the space of use and the evolution of the dwelling. 

As a result the residents gain the opportunity, as in a house, to live outside, while being home. The transformed apartments offer pleasant outdoor spaces, large enough to be fully used: 3,80m deep on the south facades of the building. Interior improvement interventions and restructuration of the bathrooms are also planned. Further the gardens down the buildings are improved; their access and use are made easier. 


The project shows the example of a relevant and economic transformation of social housing including the creation of generous, pleasant and performing dwellings. Under the project 530 dwellings were transformed and 8 new dwellings were constructed. 

This system has:

  • renewed the typologies and the living conditions,
  • raised comfort and pleasure, and 
  • improved the urban dwelling image.