LocationRue Hérold, 75001 Paris, France
From the architect. Eden Bio was a study of the densification of a typical suburban block on the east side of Paris.
Three ideas guided the project.
The first idea was to respect the surroundings and its history "à la Doisneau". There were pre-existing buildings, full of life and devoid of pretension, some low, others tall. Long and narrow alleyways that are remnant of the area’s agricultural history interrupt the street alignment and spatially define the plot, while vegetation-filled corridors lead the eye into the sun-filled core of the block.
The program quickly became clear: to avoid building directly on street alignments, to maintain the disparate suburban alignments, and to respect the alleys as connections that serve the whole complex. A long, low building takes shape in the core of the block, covered densely with plants. Surrounding it, small townhouses are adorned with materials typically found in the middle of city blocks: unfinished wood, cinder blocks, mechanical tiles, zinc, and raw concrete. Eden Bio is made of these disparate materials without neglecting the presence of nature.
The second idea was that of access. In the interior of the block you will not find an upper class corridor but rather individual entrances that open directly to the outside as expressions of individuality. Easy to achieve for small houses, this idea guided the layout of the central building. External straight staircases rise, breaking free from the planted facades to serve two dwellings on each level. Each apartment has windows on opposite sides of the building. This idea was used for each apartment in the complex.
The third idea of the project was to allow nature to inhabit the recesses of this “village-like” composition. It is not designed as a garden but rather as an abandoned landscape that is colonized by plants, scattered into all its many crevasses. To do this, the original soil of the reclaimed land was replaced by a deep organic soil, Demeter certified. A single wind-blown seed that lands on this exceptional soil can flourish easily. Three years after the building was completed on a ground void of deliberate planting, trees and plants more than two meters tall can be found alongside butterfly bushes. Only the wisteria that invade the scaffold structure of the wooden staircases were intentionally planted. A few inches tall at planting, they rise more than six meters tall today.
Finally, to honor the agricultural past of the site, two greenhouses were built. They house the mailboxes and a room for strollers. They could be the smallest buildings ever built directly on a street front in Paris. Vines invade their interior volumes.
The operation was quickly named Eden Bio.
In 2009, the project was nominated the Silver T-square Award as well as the Mies van der Rohe award.