It was on the site of the former Beaumont Chauveau barracks that the Tour’s first third site, Les Beaumonts, opened. Restored 1500 m2 military hall, civil, united and ecological third place to be invented by residents, associations and project managers of all kinds.
This is an original project spearheaded by the City of Tours and development company Touraine SET, the City-approved developer of the entire Beaumont-Chauveau ZAC on a 10-hectare vacant lot in the heart of the city.
The initial idea is to imagine the future place of life in the area before the area is built.Lea Fino, Les Beaumonts Project Manager
This wasteland, the former barracks of Beaumont Chauveau, is an enclave in the district of Maryse Bastier, very close to the districts of Rabelais and Giraud. The area to be transformed, the school of Maryse Bastier will be rebuilt here, and the creation of the National Choreographic Center of Tours has already been recorded. The inhabitants who are there today have needs, desires. They have seen this large field closed for many years, and it is to them that we turn first. There are not many buildings left on this site and the new municipality and SET have decided to keep these old halls with the idea that they will become a place of living, a place of entertainment, a third place, the whole model of which is yet to be built.
Starting March 21st, the Beaumonts hotlines are open 3 days a week: mornings by appointment and afternoons from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays until October 22nd. Meetings with associations and residents of the area, curious or project leaders: exhibitions, dance lessons, book club, DIY or bicycle repair shop, recycling center. It is Lea Fino, Beaumonts Project Manager, who organizes these meetings with Josephine on the Beaumonts website to define, accept and test projects within hours, up to 3 months. Already signed several agreements on investing space for 3 months.
Upon arriving at SET in April 2021, Lea enthusiastically assumed her duties as Project Manager for Cultural and Participatory Urban Planning. “It is very rare to create a position within a developer to support participatory approaches in urban projects while being locally very close to the associations.“.
She adds: “Since I started, I have met many associations, cultural and educational figures on the Tour who did not know about SET. Usually the developer is in contact with the communities, promoters and professionals of the city. Everything is different there, for this building and exterior we have 6000 m2 in the test space and nothing is defined. Everything must be built.”
The idea is to really support the experiment with your presence on the site. Often in the consultation process, we are confident in the call for ideas, proposals, we see the one that gets the most votes, whereas here the process is to check the building for possible use. So settling on the site 3 days a week to welcome residents, associations, project leaders, the idea is to test ideas The conditions are not ideal because the building is damp. Requires good adaptation.
Lea Fino, who is in charge of the project, defines the role of Josephine and her during these hotlines.
“My role is to facilitate, welcome initiatives and connect people. It’s a bit of open programming. We didn’t say to ourselves: we have this building, it would be great to make a library, a coworking space and a cafe, but we said to ourselves that we will test, see what people want to do. What takes, what does not take and what is put in place of management. It will not be a traditional public facility, but a model of joint construction. We allow ourselves this freedom to tell ourselves who will rule tomorrow?
On Saturday, April 2, these first open doors allowed residents to discover this place that has been closed for more than 10 years, learn about this approach to co-building, and the third-place team has already been able to reap a good harvest of thought from this experiment.
All generations combined, residents of the surrounding neighborhoods responded in large numbers to this opening day. Accidentally intersected in this vast and uncultivated space this Saturday, families, children playing and people curious and interested in the state of mind of the project, some nostalgic too.
Michel finds it hard to contain his emotions when he sees what is left of the old barracks area, abandoned by the train application school in 2009. Ruined buildings, the disappearance of the carousel and its horses. Michel, a former equestrian and military instructor, cannot stomach this disappearance and nostalgically touches the tying rings on the wall of the old stable, now under construction a third.
Ghyslaine came out of curiosity, a former resident of the area, she had never passed through the gates of this military corral, the Beaumont Chauveau barracks. .
The spirit of the third place allows you to bring together people from nearby areas. Social diversity is important, minds should be open to other cultures rather than building walls and allowing people to meet.Ghislaine, resident of the Prebendes district
She loves the playful and active side of scientific or recycling associations like Ressourcerie that come to Beaumonts open days.
Benoit is there with his family. Also curious. He lives in Les Prebendes, an area near La ZAC Beaumont-Chauveau. Quiet area where nothing, really nothing happens, he says with a smile. » The third place, as in Nantes, is not enough in Tours. The idea of a collaborative space is very good. Maybe creativity, innovative clubs, culture, a melting pot.His children immediately accepted the place and scientific activities of the Arborescence Association.
“It is good to group all areas around. Locals are in demand, and there are volunteers. We’re curious to come and see, and it encourages you to come up with ideas, to participate if you can. It’s very good for kids“.
These open days have created many contacts and opened up prospects for associations. The first test events to be organized from this week in Beaumonts are a collaborative DIY workshop offered by Low Tech Touraine on Tuesdays from 15:00 to 19:00 and on Saturdays from 9:00 to 13:00. La ptite Boucle et Ca Roule Vélo teaches you how to repair bikes on Tuesdays from 17:00 to 19:00 and every other Thursday, starting April 14, there is a solidarity sale of used clothes and recycled items. organized by the association “Active”, from 14:00 to 17:00. Encounters to find here
These associations were offered a three-month agreement, but it could be for a few hours or even an hour, depending on the projects and the wishes of the residents. Gradually, the area will change and the third place too. The activities that will be established there over the course of months, years, will be updated.
The first season of Les Beaumonts is under development and its test phase will conclude in October with an evaluation to draw the first lessons from this experiment. It can be considered that the second season will continue the development of this place over time. The idea is not to make a purely cultural place like a concert hall or an artist’s residence, but to find time for experimentation, since the area is not built up. Lea concludes by recalling the field of possibilities of this third place in co-construction. “The idea is really to be able to combine cultural activities as well as reuse, circular economy, ecological and social transitions. It is a cultural place in a broad sense, where we learn, where we transmit. We can also carry out joint projects in the open air, work with young people from the Maryse Bastier region, fellow builders.“
SET commissioned a group of Zeppelin landscape designers to look at what people have to offer at the location and work with them on the set design and furniture on the outside.
To find out more or submit ideas, you can email [email protected] or visit the site during business hours.
Access to the Beaumont Chauveau barracks ZAC is via a pedestrian gate on Rue du Capitaine Pougnon, an artistic walk along a military enclosure wall entirely dedicated to graffiti artists before discovering the Beaumonts