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Residential area in Strasbourg: the Sensations Program



Specialist :  Michel Philippe, Bouygues Immobilier and Thalie Marx, Strasbourg Eurometropolis
Contact : 

p.michel@bouygues-immobilier.com and thalie.marx@strasbourg.eu


A genuine architectural achievement for one of the first low-carbon demonstrator high-rise buildings. 11-storey building of 146 flats.

On a concrete base, the cross laminated timber (CLT) floors, including the floors, lift shafts and staircases, offer spacious accommodation that is generously open to natural light. This project is a perfect illustration of the best that wood can offer in response to the challenges of urban density.

The Sensations program by Bouygues Immobilier (lot No. 2 for home ownership) is part of a much wider project led by  the Strasbourg Eurometropolis in the Two Rivers sector, in the Rhine Port district. It consists of the construction of a low-carbon wood residential block comprising 446 homes spread over 29,700m² of floor space, including a 320-space car park. The aim of this program is to experiment with the construction of a large-scale block, using wood as much as possible (particularly for the structure) with heights that are rarely achieved in France (5-10 floors), and with low energy consumption (half of the buildings are passive). This experimentation is linked to the development of a wood industry.

The programme also proposes a geothermal network shared between the different lots on the site, allowing reversible floors (hot and cold) to be created within the buildings.

Themes : 
  • Quality of housing
  • Materials
Scale : 
  • Building


marker  Grand Est / Strasbourg
Type of territory : 
  • Metropolis
Delivery date :  25/09/2019
Built-up surface area :  8,451 m²
Project cost :  €1,4000,000 EXCL.TAX
Project owner :  Commissioned architect KOZ ARCHITECTES (75), associate architect ASP ARCHITECTURE (88)
Associated partners :  The State via the EcoCité approach and the Future Investment Plan (PIA) Cities of Tomorrow, The Auvergne Rhône Alpes region, Acoustics design office: Aida Independent Acoustics Workshop - Wooden structure design office: Ingénierie Bois - Environmental and thermal design office: ILLIOS - Carpenter: Alti Bois - Other construction lot: Eiffage construction management and development


Labels / certifications :  Passive energy building label RT2012 passive energy level, underlined by the NF Habitat certification. and BBCA Excellence level (Low Carbon Building), Label effinergie+
Competitions / prizes :  EcoCité project - City of Tomorrow Winner of the National Wood Construction Award 2020, in the "Living together" category 2018 winner of the FimbACTE Living Environment Award


Project evaluation*

based on contributor declaration

Criteria n°1: SUFFICIENCY

Confronted with the need for  urban densification, Sensations demonstrates the relevance of laminated wood for building high buildings in a more ecological way. 3 buildings of between 8 to 11 floors accommodating  146 housing units

On a concrete base, including the floors, lift shafts and staircases, offer spacious accommodation that is generously open to natural light.. A demonstration project showcasing the possibilities of wood today and quality, bio-sourced materials, a lower carbon footprint thanks to the presence of wood, all constitute the beginnings of the best that sustainable architecture can bring to housing and to the city as a whole. FROM THE FLOORS TO THE CEILINGS, FROM THE FLOORS TO THE FACADES AND EVEN THE LIFT SHAFTS, THE OPERATION IS 100% WOOD. Only the staircases and the ground floor are made of concrete, for regulatory reasons. These features make this building a first in France. “Sensations” also sets a height record: with its 11-storey structure rising to 38 metres from its base, the building is the tallest 100% timber structure in France to date.

Epicea (northern pine) and SYLVESTER PIN (interior and exterior joinery) rock wool insulation. The wood was sourced from Austria because local production was not sufficient at the start of the project.

In total, 3,500 m³ of wood were required for the entire construction.

Again, with a view to saving resources, fine management of the altimetry was carried out in order to optimise earthworks, i.e. in order to balance the cubature of cuttings/backfill as best as possible. 51,000 m3 of excavated material was reused to reach the earthwork level and to level the green spaces.

The project achieves the Environmental regulations of 2012 BEPAS LEVEL and the BBCA LABEL, EXCELLENCE LEVEL. Use of a reversible floor to cover heating needs in winter and to ensure cooling in summer. In winter, a geothermal heat pump captures the natural energy of the Rhine water table and releases it through the underfloor heating system. In summer, the cooling system is of the “Natural Cooling” type. The false ceilings eliminate 80% of the main volatile organic compounds, the wall paints are classified A+ with low solvent emissions + recyclable floor coverings.

The building is designed according to very simple principles: highly repetitive structure, grouped fluid distribution cores, suspended balconies, this rationality will simplify the maintenance and will favour the second life of the project. 

Criteria n°2: INCLUSION

A process of co-construction between the different actors of the site (4 projects) was initiated by the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg. A series of workshops between designers took place to coordinate and imagine together the cohabitation of the projects. Management of the size of the buildings, shadows, visual impacts visual impacts, urban form…

The BEPAS-level program consists of 8,451 m² SP of mixed-use housing (146 units) and 830 m² (floor area) of ground floor shops.

The wooden residential block in the Rhin port district, in the Deux Rives sector, is the signal for this reconquest. “Sensations” is the first of four lots which, on a 2-hectare site belonging to the local authority, will total 443 housing units (331 for home ownership, 112 social housing units), activities and shops, and a silo car park.

Criteria n°3: RESILIENCE

The project addresses the issue of resilience to the effects of climate change. Indeed, Sensations is based on a laminated wood post and beam structure, with facades, stairwells, lift shafts and floors made of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels. This construction principle allows the building to be energy passive. With heating requirements that will not exceed 15 kWh/habitable m² /annum. Moreover, as the block is located in a seismic zone, the wooden structure also ensures the stability of the building in the event of an earthquake.

Criteria n°4 : CREATIVITY

The project can be seen as a “stimulus” for local businesses. Introduction of new manufacturing and design processes. This is notably the case of the prefabrication revolution

which vastly modifies conventional methods. The capacity of the project to generate new uses will be measured when the block is finalised. Our project is part of a global approach that will lead to the emergence of new uses.

In the framework of the City of Tomorrow assessment, the overall level of innovation is level 1, which corresponds to national firsts. Technical and technological innovations are level 1


The innovations targeted are multiple:

  • Technical and energetic: height, compatibility between wood structures, summer comfort, acoustics, fire safety, seismic and environmental quality of collective buildings, low carbon balance;
  • Construction innovation: the project proposes a very ambitious constructional system for a building of more than 10 floors, proposing increasingly light structures according to the levels of the floors. Consequently, both the foundations and ground floors are made from reinforced concrete in order to ensure that the loads are taken up, then the load-bearing walls and facades are made of laminated wood panels. Finally, the facades of the last levels and the interplot buildings are made of timber frames. A glued laminated wood post and beam system and glued wood panel floors complete the technical system.
  • Collaborative project set-up with a “horizontal” consultation system with the designation, from the project outset, of a team comprising a developer to whom the lot is assigned, its main technical service providers, including companies (architect, design offices, particularly in wood engineering, and wood construction companies). This allows for a balanced exchange of ideas between the players in order to define and verify together the possible constructive solutions and the technological obstacles to be overcome;


Project team support:

– on the one hand to guarantee the level of ambition of the project by a scientific committee called the quality circle, made up of experts in the wood construction and energy performance sector coordinated by the Fibres Energivie competitiveness cluster;

– and secondly, to guarantee the operationality of the project: through a project management assistance mission to evaluate the innovation and insurability of the wood block’s constructions. The aim is to identify the subjects of innovation within the construction processes with the aim of removing legal, technical and economic obstacles, but also to establish a strategy of action to remove potential blockages and to support the obtaining of insurance for the project owners concerned.

Last criteria: potential of replicability ?

The EcoCité low-carbon residential wood demonstration block project has three objectives:

– To study the bioclimatic relevance of the use of wood in construction with BEPAS type performance levels;

– To analyse the technical and structural constraints linked to the development of wood as a major material in construction and to achieve a mass effect;

– To participate in the development of a local wood construction sector “from the tree to the building site and to the resident”.


The project can be reproduced on the territory of the Strasbourg Eurometropolis (whose objective is the construction of 300 to 400 wooden housing units per year), the wooden island is also a precursor for future infrastructure to be developed for the  2024 Olympic villages, which will also be entirely made of wood and BBCA.

The Strasbourg metropolis is participating in Lab2051 “Massifying wood construction”, which aims to study the conditions for wider deployment of projects of this type across France. Three high-rise wooden buildings have already been built in this district as part of the PIA Cities of Tomorrow.

About Solène

Mission Officer, Working Group, and Projects. Student at the Urban School of Sciences Po Paris, focusing on the ecological transition of cities.

About Quentin

Motivated by climate issues and planetary boundaries, Quentin decided to study land use planning at the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. His experience in associative field at the Fresque du Climat, helped him to better understand the stakes of the ecological bifurcation. Between his native Haute-Savoie and his home town Rennes, where he gained expertise in mobility and sustainable agriculture, he is now based in Paris to deploy the Sustainable City by France’s territorial workshops throughout the country.

About Alice

After five years’ study at Sciences Po Lyon, with a specialization in territorial transitions, Alice joined Sustainable City by France (France Villes et territoires Durables). She actively contributes to the deployment of the association’s territorial workshops and working groups.
See her LinkedIn profile 

Currently studying as a second-year Master’s student in International Relations at University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Tara holds a Bachelor’s degree from INALCO, with a double-major in Hindi language, and International relations / Environmental studies. Her work with us is in line with her former experiences at UNESCO and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, thus deepening her professional expertise in the field of environmental diplomacy and international cooperation for sustainable development.

See her LinkedIn profile


She holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics from the Panthéon-Sorbonne University and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in International Relations and Action Abroad at the same university. She approaches the problems of sustainable cities and territories through these different perspectives and her international experiences.

About Isabelana

Isabelana is a Mexican journalist who holds a Master’s degree in Digital Communication and Data Analysis from the Sorbonne University. She previously worked in communication and press relations in the cultural sector in France and Mexico. Today, she is interested in ecological actions and solutions to preserve the environment and the biodiversity.

About Camille

camille photo
With a background in social sciences, art history and architecture, Camille has worked in communication within the VINCI group: from major international projects to La Fabrique de la Cité, a think tank dedicated to urban foresight.

About Alexandra

A geographer by training (Saint Petersburg State University), she started as a geographer and economist at the Academy of Agricultural Economics (Russia), before pursuing her career in France as an administrative and accounting assistant (Air Liquide, Association TGV Provence Côte d’Azur, COFHUAT, Groupe Hervé)

About Marion

Trained in international and European affairs between England and France as part of a double degree at Sciences-Po Lille / University of Kent, Marion started her career in advocacy and institutional relations of non-governmental organisations, in the fair trade sector (Max Havelaar France label). Her experiences are also linked to territories, with a passage in decentralised cooperation at the level of a departmental council.

About Sébastien

Before joining the SCbF team, he held several positions in local government management. From elected official and deputy mayor of his native city Besançon, in charge of university relations and international cooperation, to Director of Economic Development of the City of Pantin, to Chief of staff in Montreuil – where he notably piloted the in-depth redesign of the urban project towards more ecology and sustainable development – he continued his career as Senior Resilience Officer of the City of Paris.
He promotes a holistic and systemic vision of sustainable development and brings his expertise in territorial resilience, ecological and social transition.