“The energy crisis weakens certain projects” (S. Meneghini, architect)

They seek to blend their architecture into the local landscape. Silvia Meneghini, Julia Vendeville and Julien Hervochon, co-founders of the agency Laboratoire d’architecture de Bretagne (Lab), are working to revitalize their region by imagining renovations of public buildings. Between biosourced materials and heritage preservation, the architects are committed to designing sustainable programs. The six people who make up the firm, all trained in bim, meticulously follow each step of the projects they sign, from the sketch to the delivery. Batiactu caught up with Lab co-founder Silvia Meneghini to discuss the profession and her adopted territory.

Batiactu: How is your agency doing and what is your view of the market?

Silvia Meneghini: We have a lot of work but we are experiencing cash flow problems. Municipalities are struggling to pay us on time because of rising energy prices. We work with small communities but we have heard that some cities are thinking of stopping projects because of the crisis. On the side of construction companies, small and large, they say they are worried. Their order books are full but they no longer have a long-term vision. This crisis raises questions about the future. Despite this situation, calls for tenders continue to be published, especially for renovations. A trend that is part of a national logic of preservation of what already exists.

In the case of Finistère, where we are located, there are only two Breton construction companies that are capable of managing lots of large construction sites. Otherwise, for this type of work, we have to call on national companies. There is in the department a problem of competition between companies.

You are of Italian nationality. Why did you choose to settle in Brittany?

I studied at the Polytechnic School of Milan and did a year of Erasmus in Rennes. I then joined the National School of Architecture (Ensa) in Brittany, from which I graduated in 2009, in the midst of the economic crisis. I then set up on my own in Brest, where I met many construction players. We founded, with Julia Vendeville and Julien Hervochon, the agency Laboratoire d’architecture de Bretagne (Lab) in 2015.

During my years of study, I trained in eco-construction. I was very interested in the renovation too, and I must say that I am fascinated by the brutalist buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s during the post-war boom. They have their charm, their rigour. People find them ugly because they

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