Architects: Atelier Zundel & Cristea
Location: Tours, France
Area: 4500.0 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Stephane Chalmeau
From the architect. This retirement home is being built in Monconseil’s Urban Development Zone (ZAC in France), in the northern suburbs of the city of Tours, where this building will be one of the first footprints in the area. The project, which consists of 81 beds spread across three units, was defined from the beginning by specifications that sought to take up and organize an ideal amount of the site’s surfaces. Respecting these specifications to the letter would have led us to a ground floor organization around internal courtyards spread over the entirety of the site.
To try and reconcile these demands with the ZAC regulations the area was subject to, we proposed a compromise. The result of which is a building in the shape of a “U”, composed of three parts. Its main body, made up of three floors, extends out to the alignments required at the southern and eastern boundaries. Its upstairs floors contain the two units for traditional accommodation, while its ground floor contains communal living areas. It is partially built upon stilts, at the corner of two streets, so as to free up, on the ground floor, an entrance area for the public. The second body of the building, made up of a ground floor only, extends to the western boundary, where alignment was also required. It houses all the technical premises, along with the central kitchen, and is extended by a service courtyard. A third and last body, less restricted by requirements of alignment, unfolds in a single, ground floor to house the Alzheimer units, and contains secure gardens, being set back in relation to the street.
On the ground floor overlooking the street secondary premises can be found. The rooms on all upstairs floors are protected by a set back (Alzheimer unit). All the communal living spaces are placed facing the large internal garden. The corridors leading to the rooms are deliberately well ventilated, becoming naturally lit lanes every four or five rooms, and in the end compose a veritable avenue, where events take place within the generous amounts of natural light, and where there are comfortable views of the garden. Each view toward the outside creating a small lounge conducive for meetings.
The facade is composed of prefabricated concrete, over which we applied a plant pattern, in order to produce a vibration in the surface.