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The Rochambeau barracks gets a makeover

At the heart of Guillestrois, everyone wonders about the scaffolding around the Rochambeau barracks. This 3.6 million euro works campaign, entirely financed by the Recovery Plan, is made up of two phases, from March to November 2022, then from March to November 2023. had not been restored during the campaign in 2015.

“The complexity of this operation is linked to the climate”

The purpose of this first phase is the restoration of the buttress staircase, the renovation of the facades, and the restoration of the frames and roofing. “This operation consists of removing the roofing, making a report on the sanitary condition of the wood, making the first reinforcements on the frame, then the roofing, explains Jessica Garin, CEO of Eurotoiture. The complexity of this operation is linked to the climate, which requires us to work in season, with snow. The second constraint is that we are on an atypical framework by Philibert Delorme, which requires very special care, both in terms of study and restoration. The cover complex is an isolated and sealed complex, a climate-related obligation. The laying of slates is specific and longer, the slates being laid with decreasing exposure and with nails. Of the 5,000 m² to be built, we are managing them in phases, in order to manage the out of water and avoid infiltration as the work progresses. On the Philibert Delorme frame, we are really on the replacement of small keys, about 10%. On the other hand, on the rafters, the secondary framework, we are on an almost total replacement, linked to the fact that the roofing in poor condition had infiltrations. Nothing is left to chance in the choice of materials. »

French larch from the Alpine arc, slates, which, as in the first installment, come from the Vasserre quarry in the Pyrenees… We work with French materials, so there is no supply problem”, smiles Jessica Garin.

Workers who have graduated from the journeymen’s school

On the site, different teams work together, on removal and sealing, on the complex, carpenters and slate workers. “The workers are companions who have the know-how to work on this type of operation. Carpenters and roofers are two different trainings. They are graduates of the companions’ school or trained by working with the companions. It takes an average of 10 to 15 years to form an autonomous companion. We recruit, we train,” concludes Jessica.


Helicopter transport, a rewarding mission, but very technical, between humans on roofs and scaffolding, and particular aerology on the plateau of a thousand winds. Photo The DL

Helicopter transport, a technical mission

“The choice of helicopter transport was made in order to avoid a crane on site and to be able to ensure the continuity of visits to the stronghold”, specifies Isabelle Fouilloy-Jullien, administrator of Mont-Dauphin. Weekly helicopter transport for the removal and supply of materials is provided by Hélicoptères de France, and the SDIS hosts the materials drop-off area in Guillestre. “It’s rewarding to work for heritage and to participate in the restoration of this kind of building, testifies Dominique Heib, helicopter pilot. It’s part of the fun of our job. »

“You have to work with precision to preserve their human integrity”

In the heliport, everything is millimeter. “Helicopter transport is technical. Especially since there are people working on the roof and on scaffolding. We have to work with precision to preserve their human integrity, which adds a little pressure to us. We work with a 20 meter sling, plus a shock absorber and a small rope at the end. Or 25 meters above the roof. This allows us to have enough latitude to counter the aerologies which are complicated here, and not to generate too much wind for the workers. »

For helicopter transport work with slings, flight attendants have a key role. “My flight assistants, Maxence Lecorre and Alexandre Cerro, are my eyes on the ground, my contacts by radio, they provide security. We are in a dense aeronautical zone with the Saint-Crépin aerodrome nearby, and a lot of birds, including eagles nesting in the cliff. »

The Rochambeau barracks are 5,000 m² of rooms just waiting to live, and live again!  Photo The DL

One story and many lives

The Rochambeau barracks, built in the 18th century, forms a vault with the southern rampart of Mont-Dauphin. The flying buttress staircase was added to reinforce the building, the chambers inside being all vaulted. Originally, this barracks had a roof terrace which served as an artillery terrace, but in the 19th century, following infiltrations, it was covered with a framework à la Philibert Delorme which had the advantage of conserving space. available, and to use pieces of wood no longer than 1.20 meters, large format wood being rare at this time. The Rochambeau barracks has a history, but several lives. Even today, it houses a mushroom grower, a ripening cellar, but also the Little Bighorn exhibition, by Ousmane Sow. “Mont-Dauphin is one of the pilot monuments for the possible establishment of third places, specifies Manon Assénat, communication officer CMN (Centre des monuments nationaux). Third places are hybrid places intended for different uses. Following a call for applications by the CMN, we will be advised and monitored by Plateau Urbain and an architectural agency ABDPA. We are still on the feasibility study, but, a priori, we will be able to develop new uses and continue to exploit these spaces. The interest is the mix between culture, economy… but also collaboration with common spaces for all users. The barracks, 5,000 m², includes 56 rooms from 40 to 70 m², and today, 20 rooms are in use.

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