Architects: Atelier Zündel & Cristea
Location: Paris, France
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Stephane Chalmeau
The operation of this building for residential use (by all ages) adheres to the logic of a stacking of trays. Business space and the entrance to the retirement home are found on the ground floor, followed by five floors containing the main section of the retirement home, while the top four floors contain privately owned homes. The basement contains parking lots for the residents as well as supplementary annexes of the retirement home: its kitchen, maintenance and storage rooms.
With a length of 43m by a depth of 28m, the trays form vast surface areas that will be entirely filled on the first five floors by the requirements of the project that is the specific configuration of the retirement home. With the project’s lowest density on the last four floors, there will be a successive shrinkage of the trays, thus bringing the building into correspondence with Boulevard Macdonald’s Local Plan of Urbanism (PLU), and meanwhile providing a generous amount of sunny passageways for the majority of residents.
The retirement home on the first five floors forms a compact volume due to the density of the project in this segment of it. We understood, through a testing of volume, that the subtle allowances certain outer walls contained for unsticking, could result in a rupture in this compactness. The realization of this movement, combined with the employment of paving slabs corresponding to each floor, and the choice of full height windows for each room, put the building back on a human scale.
On the south-facing side, the outer walls recede freely to form breaths in the assembled mass, and become a linear set of mezzanines. In the building’s upper part, the movements of the outer walls and paving slabs, combined with a successive shrinkage, signal a change in function. The complex as a whole demonstrates, through its usage of volume, a superposition of functions.