Grasse old city centre

The exciting renovation of a noble 18th century building

Map of Grasse old city centre

Atelier Lorin

Issues and stakes

The challenge in this project, was how to fit the "Plan de Sauvegarde et de Mise en Valeur" (safeguard and enhancement policy) of the city of Grasse, under the control of an "Architecte des Batiments de France" (Architect of historical buildings and their surroundings, trained at the Chaillot School of French cultural heritage architecture). Four years ago, the city decided that the building had to be renovated because it is situated in a noble part of the city, and it is a historical building built in a "Directoire" style from the 18th century. Such a renovation plan had some consequences on urban life and this is why a citizen awareness campaign was led by the architect together with the firm. The most affected by the 4 months of renovation were the merchants who suffered from soil and dust as well as from the scaffolding congestion. There was also a strict security control for workers and passer-bys.


The architect first had to establish a diagnosis about the coating and its state of decay. From this he was able to define the renovation plan: Following the diagnosis, item by item, a specification for defining structures and works to achieve was established and involved the use of replacing stones and removal of areas of coatings with the exception of a few areas that were in good condition, cleaning joints between stones for repointing,  and applying a thick lime render in two coats and a top coat for an extra smooth finish. The coating selected from the Weber line is the key to the beauty of the façades as it gives high transparency and brightness to whitewash that will be applied next. The last layer is very important since it is the one which will give a warm colour, not inert, to the façade. The building has a front and a back façade; both were treated in the same way. "As for the colour, the safeguard and enhancement policy limited it from orange ochre to yellow ochre, and it also had to integrate the colours of the surrounding buildings. The choice was made from the Weber colour chart, issued from “Terres d’Enduits”, a regional approach to colours used in our cultural heritage architecture.