Two buildings housing 22 apartments close to the Porte de Clichy situated in the north-west of Paris. Rue Pierre-Rebière is a straight road measuring 600 metres in length and 25 metres in width. It is bounded by the Batignolles Cemetery and the grounds of the Honoré-de-Balzac High School. This narrow and once neglected street will be transformed by a host of new structures.
Different yet complementary, the two buildings create a dialogue and give a staccato-like rhythm to the street. The first building projects horizontal lines, while the second is resolutely vertical and seems to reach to the treetops. Should passersby care to look, they will be able to glimpse the trees of the cemetery through the space left between the buildings. The apartments in both buildings have generous balconies and the planting creates a living link between the street and the greenery of the cemetery.
The apartments face the street and the gardens and are protected from any noise originating on the cemetery side. The homes on the ground floor all have access to well-oriented private gardens (south – south west – south east), which act as a filter in terms of the street. Each building has its own entrance and residents cross a small planted area to reach the entrance halls.
Top floor living for all
In the horizontal building, each floor houses two or three apartments, which are accessed by a lift or by naturally-lit staircase. These apartments have dual or triple aspects. The corner south-facing living rooms look out onto the street. The bedrooms face west or east. Despite the proximity of the cemetery, the kitchens and bathrooms benefit from small, high ventilation openings. In this way the homes are protected from the noise originating from the ring road and views over the cemetery (no windows look straight out onto the cemetery).
These apartments have generous terraces and balconies that occupy the entire façade of the apartment with access from the living rooms and the bedrooms. They different floors seem to have been slid one on top of another giving magnificent views of the sky and giving their residents the feeling that they are living on the top floor – whatever floor their home is actually on.
In the wooden building, all the apartments have either a garden (on the ground floor) or large balconies. On the ground floor, the living rooms and bedrooms look out onto the gardens on the street and cemetery sides. In the middle floors, small volumes project out giving the impression of a smaller volume in terms of the street. The duplex apartments have dual-aspect living rooms benefiting from balconies at both ends. On the top floors, the apartments benefit from having lower level roofs with very generous dimensions.
The black building is a succession of slightly staggered plateaux clad in reflective stainless steel. Their different orientations reflect their environment and from the street the cemetery and its greenery can be glimpsed. This brilliant cladding reflects the sunlight and sends shafts of light onto the soffits of the balconies. These plateaux are separated by black concrete walls;sliding wooden shutters form a continuous controlled band. The living rooms all benefit from a corner position and open out onto generous balconies.
The wooden building is narrow and hugs the edge of the plot. This volume is completed by small extensions, which house the ground floor bedrooms and form the balconies of the upper floors. The façades are clad in large wooden laths. The building is clad on all four sides so that even when viewed from the cemetery side, the building does not appear impoverished in any way. Openings have been introduced on all sides of the building and all the living rooms have dual aspects giving views of the street and the Honoré-de-Balzac High School. From the other side, the views are of the trees in the cemetery and out beyond the city limits.