Creating homes in the city center and infusing a bit of modernity into Toulouse’s pink brick facades is possible thanks to the elevations, these extensions at the height of one or two storeys in an old building.
You have probably already noticed one of these apartments on the top floor, often with a terrace, sometimes decorated with columns. And some may have even dreamed of living in these homes set in the heart of the city, but without neighbors above and with, often, a lovely view and space to eat on the balcony, on summer evenings.
The city center of Toulouse is full of these loft homes, it is the architectural term that refers to Athens that describes an apartment in the upper part that crowns a construction.
Most often a little secluded from the facade it dominates, it is located above an entablatur or a cornice and is added to the original building. A development that makes it possible to enlarge a building, sometimes to accommodate children who have grown up above the home where they grew up. We are then talking about family increase. Sometimes to create one or more additional homes, rather high-end, that the owner or investor will sell or rent at a high price.
An extension favored by the first PLUiH (local inter-municipal housing plan), which in 2019 set the rules for urban planning in the Toulouse metropolis. This PLUiH was canceled in 2021 and we returned to the 2012 Local Plan (PLU) for Toulouse, which is less lenient.
But Annette Laigneau, deputy mayor of Toulouse in charge of urban planning and cultural heritage, remains quite favorable to this type of development in the current context, which bans any artificialization of new land and favors “gentle intensification while allowing” to infuse a bit of modernity “in the city center, according to the vice-president of the Toulouse Métropole:” We can proceed to an elevation, provided the foundation and structure of the old building allow it “, the chosen ones specify,” it is the allowable height in that sector, which actually counts. Sometimes we approve an elevation to be adapted to the existing heights, sometimes we prefer the demolition of the building for a new reconstruction, especially in the urban renewal areas “(areas near metro stations, eg ed. Note).
Extension under conditions
The height is especially indicated in the old hypercenter, bounded by the boulevard belt, and in certain suburbs. But under certain conditions.
“In the remarkable cultural heritage sector (SPR), the formerly protected sector where every building has been analyzed by our services, we are not just improving anywhere,” adds Annette Laigneau, “this should not obscure a perspective or cultural heritage; protected building element (EBP), for example, a remarkable building protected in PLUIiH that can not be destroyed, it can only be modified, depending on the sector, or if the building in question is less than 500 m from a listed building or a area, a statement is requested from the architect of the French buildings, ”adds the elected representative.
If the elevation project directly concerns a listed building, “it also requires authorization from Drac (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs), whose recommendations must be followed,” Annette Laigneau further clarifies. The increase, which is interesting, can therefore not be applied systematically.
Controversy in the Chalets district
These increases are sometimes controversial. Thus, the Gazette des Chalets, the newspaper of the district association, recently echoed three heights that are dissatisfied with the residents of this very neighborhood. Rue de la Balance, the gray metal height on two levels, with openings of different sizes, strikes: “Neighbors protest […] passers-by are shocked to lose their usual aesthetic landmarks, ”writes Alain Roy. Two other projects concern the residents, one rue Saint-Hilaire (permission denied by the town planning department) and the other on the corner of rue d’Orléans and rue Jany. The contemporary shapes and the gray of these projects shock, here too, the defenders of pink bricks, moreover, rather yellow or earth. “The association and the inhabitants of the area know how to value the marriage between the old and the present,” assures Tidende. Taste and colors …