Pelvoux - Claux hydroelectric plant
- department: Hautes-Alpes
- Municipality: Pelvoux
- naming: Claux hydroelectric plant
- Author: Gilbert PLANCHE (Engineer)
- date: 1929-1935
- protection: unprotected building
- label patrimoine XXe: Commission régionale du patrimoine et des sites (CRPS) du 15 March 2007
It was built from 1929 to 1935 and operated by the Société d'énergie électrique du Briançonnais, in a valley bottom at the end of the hamlet of Claux. It exploits the water of the Ecrins massif and includes a power supply system (valves and pipes), an operating building and a power distribution network (which supplied the sanatorium of Bois de l'Ours in Briançon).
It belongs to the first generation of hydroelectric plants through which the owners wished to contribute to the development of mountain valleys, and the engineers and architects sought to transcend the only technical aspect of the works. How can we make an expression of power, dictated by the programme itself, a social impact on the development of the valley, a harmonious presentation in a site whose tourist vocation appears and asserts itself?
At first, the designers were inspired by religious buildings, and the Claux factory evokes a monastic building with its large body of building rhythmic narrow arcades, allowing to give a great regularity and a lot of allure to the utilitarian piercings, with its four-sided roof dominated by a skylight, and the centre of each long facade, with an upper side housing the entrance to the building.
The building is designed in the spirit of architecture developed in the course of construction of factories, written by M. Espitallier and published in 1920 by the School of Public Works of Building and Industry.
In 1946, this plant was integrated into EDF’s Mediterranean production unit.
- Editor: Hélène Riblet, SDAP des Hautes-Alpes, 2006
- Jacquignon Louis, History of electricity in the Hautes-Alpes, from the origins to the nationalization of 1946, Paris, Association pour l'histoire de l'électricité en France, Jouve, 2000
- Lyon-Caen Jean-François, Menegoz Jean-Claude, Electrical cathedrals, architecture of the Dauphiné hydroelectric power plants, Grenoble, Musée dauphinois, 1991