Location: Toulouse, France
Client /developer: Habitat Toulouse
Collaborators: Isabelle Fabre, Guillaume Calsou
Structure engineer: Bernadberoy
Fluids engineer: Ceercé
Hqe engineer: Franck Boutté
Project Area: 5 300 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Philippe Ruault
Built for a public social housing body, this building is located on the Avenue de Grande-Bretagne in Toulouse joins an existing complex of low-rise blocks and a sixteen storey tower block laid out around a park planted with trees. The complex is adjacent to the ZAC de la Cartoucherie, an emerging priority development zone.
The architectural and environmental issues relating to the building involve producing collective spaces of comparable quality to the existing ones, reducing the environmental impact of the building, ensuring maximum comfort for residents while protecting them from the noise of the avenue, and adding to the housing complex without compromising its equilibrium.
The new building both complements an existing complex and constitutes its new entrance. It is laid out along the Avenue de Grande-Bretagne, set back from the street and has a wide porch connecting the public space of the avenue with the interior of the estate. The compact, rationally and repetitively structured building features 61 dual-aspect flats overlooking the avenue to the north and the park to the south.
The large ground floor flats are maisonettes with independent entrances and private patios, which means they feel similar to individual housing units. From the second to the seventh floor 2, 3 and 4 room flats are accessed via a network of walkways running along the north-facing façade. These open walkways are buffer spaces that afford privacy for the flats and shelter them from traffic noise.
On the south side, wide full-length loggias with translucent sliding sunscreens offer all the flats a large, private outside area. The design is expressed using rational construction methods and features overhanging loggias and walkways. The repetitive “stacking” approach is offset by the varied way the sliding sunscreens on the south facing loggias are arranged. The colour of the façades echoes the white and pale grey neighbouring buildings and creates a subtle sense of the varying light and shadow falling on the building.
Designed to form both a harmonious extension of the existing estate and a link between it and the surrounding traditional urban fabric, this building offers a distanced, contemporary interpretation of the precepts of Modern Architecture. Faithful to the ambitions of modern architectural design in terms of housing quality, with its large, well-oriented, well-ventilated, comfortable flats, it transposes those ambitions into the context of urban redevelopment in a modern district.