ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwidethe world's most visited architecture website

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos


Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.


Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Institutional Buildings
  4. France
  5. ECDM
  6. 2008
  7. Collage Paris / ECDM

Collage Paris / ECDM

  • 01:00 - 7 February, 2009
Collage Paris / ECDM
Collage Paris / ECDM

Collage Paris / ECDM Collage Paris / ECDM Collage Paris / ECDM Collage Paris / ECDM +34

  • Architects

  • Location

    Paris, France
  • Architects

    Emmanuel Combarel Dominique Marrec
  • Project Manager

    Louis-Antoine  Grego – Matthieu Roggwiller
  • Engineering

  • Structural Engineering

    Eng.Lopes de Oliveira
  • Client

  • Area

    2026.0 sqm
  • Project Year


From the architect. Located at the intersection of the homogeneous and haussmannian landscape along Gossec Street, and of the disparate architecture made up through time on Picpus Street, the site on which this 63 social housing program is established is an element of a typical “collage-city” landscape, also characterized by a double movement of the natural soil: the connection, on its front part, to the deep slope of the Picpus Street, and, on its backyard limit, to a landmark garden, 1.50 m higher than the average level of the soil.

The project is a proposition to link these opposite typologies and soil movements.

Two parallelipedic buildings, respectively 7 and 6 levels high aligned in parallel on the front and back limit (north and south) of the plot are set up on stilts above two long ribbons which concentrate all the accommodations of the residence on the street side and keep clear a wide open space way far unto the landmark garden. In the courtyard, the rooftops of the ribbons, “vegetalized”, expand to propose "house-typed" apartments with high ceilings, equipped for the handicapped.

On Picpus street, West side, the project is connected to the truncated bow of the haussmannian building at the angle of Gossec Street, as if the site was a corner lot. It prolongs the fixture and the components of the architecture of the Gossec Street, proposing a sharp collage. East side, the project is aligned with the roof of the smooth facade of a building from the 70’s, also continuing the fixture and the components of the adjacent building, marked by a withdrawal that completes the project.

Elevated on 2 parking levels, the ground floor slab appears like a mineral kaleidoscope, appropriate to dissolve the handicapped requirements in an opportunistic and playful mid-mineral mid-vegetal landscape. Each apartment or accommodation has its specific altimetry, in the exact prolongation of the kaleidoscope, generating a free movement of the doors and windows, emphasized by their reflection in the stainless cladding of the ribbons and the ceilings.

One enters the residence through a metallic curtain by a wide porch in the axis of the project, and then each building has its own entrance hall. The common areas are generous, clear, without residual spaces and benefit from natural light.

The project presents 2 colors, 4 specific facades conceived to respond to very specific solicitations, all characterized by wide windows, opened on large terraces or balconies (depending on their orientation), protected by colored glass treated like sunglasses.

The project proposes the implementation of 64 housing developing a GFA of 4 126 square meters.

Sustainability requirements were emphasized for the conception of this social housing building. Also, standards for energy use were up to 30 % stricter than legally binding standards in France at the time the building permit was delivered.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Collage Paris / ECDM" 07 Feb 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Frederick · May 14, 2009

My new neighbours...

For those of you who like the "funky colors", praise should go to the photographer, because in real life it just looks cheap and plastic.

I think this building is a good illustration of the housing problem in Paris and France in general. The actual flats are very poorly designed, the entire building is done to a minimum, just following the demands of the OPAC (Office Public de la Construction, who thought it posh to rename themselves "Paris Habitat"), packing in as many apartments as possible and disguising the lot behind a funky skin.

Don't get me wrong, I think its great to be building that density of affordable homes (Paris definitely needs more of them !) but I can't help noticing the giant schism between the housing market and other sectors of construction, the costs have been squeezed so tight that any real research of quality is made impossible. Add to that the excessive building regulations that apply in the city and the result is a building like this one.

Its shape is defined directly by filling the maximum buildable volume (notice the stepped facade on the rear of the building, to respect a 45?angle from the void on neighboring plot).

All apartments are done to a minimal standard, with absolutely no concern for the living quality of each unit (would you like living in the ground floor units, under the rest of the building???), each unit is defined by its marketable surface, just look at how a big portion of the corridors have been integrated to the last apartments, this space although uncomfortable and unusable is counted in the floor space of the unit, artificially boosting the surface ratios.

It seems to be accepted by most architects in France that you can no longer do interesting housing projects and it has become standard practice to just "have fun" with the facade and splash some green paint around. I am personally very worried by the widespread use of these "AMC facades" (they seem to make every cover of this french architecture magazine), using a "random looking" patchwork of "Nippon clip-on" plastic with a module of 600mm DOES NOT CREATE A FACADE, it is just a skin, an absence of decision, some sort of universal white-wash "solving" the problem of the buildings expression and avoiding a difficult work of relating with the Haussman style facade of the street.

Building in Paris is very difficult, as I mentioned before the regulation is very complex, and the protection of Paris's perceived beauty has led to a very conservative approach to urban planning. As a result of this, there are two categories of projects: Jean Nouvel-like orgies of excessive color, boxy shapes and total disregard for anything concrete like budgets, planning and so on (gouverment support needed) and the others, struggling to survive. I was speaking a few weeks ago with students from one of the leading French architecture schools (internationally (NOT)recognized EAVT of Marne-la-Vallee) and especially those doing a Masters on the subject of Habitat, and was terrified to see that they have ALL come to accept that housing projects will always be linked to many mundane aspects like regulations and economy much more so then other typologies and as a result of this HOUSING HAS TO BE BORING !!!

Although the budgets for housing are of course smaller and less flexible then other programs I am convinced that it IS possible to do cheap AND interesting housing, as often seen in Holland for example.

What do you guys think about this??

YOURMom's lover · July 25, 2009 01:33 AM

Holland housing isnt cheap---its well budgeted, well spent, well made

ormac · February 09, 2009

very cute details - i like the balconys very much

Ankhu · February 09, 2009

In the developing country,For my homeland China,the government set good level for the “Social Housing",include enough sunlight,flowing fresh air,and so on.But This high level force the housing high cose and take too much land. hoevery so many people need the “Social Housing",and they still have no chance to apply successfull.
Maybe the architector should care more about social benefit,but not only the form

Kim · February 09, 2009

"Social Housing" in France, especially inside Paris are mainly for privileged people that are lucky to have contacts inside the welfare administration.
There is a long list of people waiting to have the chance of keeping for life these low rent housings, done by architects. If you are lucky your name would be magically put on top of the list, and you'll have the chance to live or own and keep for life, an apartment in an HLM (Habitation a Loyer Modere) Every body is a wining in this welfare system, except the poor:

The architect is getting the moral and ethical publicity, the mayor is getting his quota, and behind closed doors his extra money from the builders, the bourgeoisie is getting low cost rent for their kids so they can finance their private school inside Paris.

We call it System D, you call it French System…

pi · February 08, 2009

i like :)..the use of colours and the simple look

schliemann · February 08, 2009



Comments are closed

Read comments