The firebreak garden, a test structure for the forest protection against fire in the Maures’ Mountains

by Frederic Bouvier from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Section d’Architecture, Faculté ENAC, Switzerland
Tutored by: Prof. Luca Ortelli, Elena Cogato-Lanza, Barbara Tirone, Mickael Jakob

Author comments:

Fifty years after Algeria’s independence and the abandonment of Harkis, its army reserves, France has broken its silence and finally looks back on this dark period of history. France has engaged in a fight against ignorance; it immobilizes the vestige of this period to mobilize memory and reflection, and employs memorials, or other monuments, as a means of public recognition. However, by attempting to achieve this memorable through an inert monumental form, we slowly relieve ourselves of the duty to remember. The commemoration was overshadowed by the physical memorial, which was designed to blend little by little into the nearby landscape, and failed to remind us of the memories themselves. So then, how should this be done?

We can overcome the crushing burden of History, the duty of memory and its institutionalization, by invoking the memory involuntarily. One means of commemorating the Harkis it is to establish the “hameau de forestage” (the camps hosting the Harkis’ families) in the South of France. This will serve to remind us about importance of the forestry work, which includes reforestation and fighting forest fires. In other words, Harkis’ history and the Mediterranean forest go hand in hand to respond to a current issue: the firebreaks’ management and maintenance. Harkis’ memory is indirectly materialized by the construction of a test structure on the Varois territory, a farming garden that belongs to Forest Protection Against Fire (DFCI).

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