Architects: MDR Architectes
Location: Montpellier, France
Design Team: Sancie Matte Devaux, Frédéric Devaux, Arnaud Rousseau
Area: 0.0 sqm
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Stéphane Chalmeau
From the architect. This project is located on the outside rim of the new Port Marianne neighborhood, the quality of the location is remarkable in many ways: in front of the avenue Raymon Dugrand, this location makes this a flagship project for this new neighborhood with a high-quality urban environment; on the northern front, the land is bordered by a beautiful alley of century-old plane trees and on the eastern front the new landscaped park offers a one-of-a-kind view.
The project abides by the surface and volume established in the project’s specifications and ensures the cohesion of all built ensembles. The operation is in fact distributed into two distinct « plot-like » building sites, seated on a great mineral public promenade. The buildings’ height is restricted to 5 floors guaranteeing the purity and cohesion of the urban ensemble.
It is made of patterned cement and covers the plots of the buildings. The base is solid and delimitates the street front to connect together the Northern promenade and the urban component of the Southern facades. On these orientations, as well as on the Eastern facade, the openings are smaller and located in such a way to permit a directional view on the shops from North to South. This substructure is largely open on its Eastern front facing the avenue; this is where shop windows and entrances will be.
Delimited by the floorboards of the higher levels Ground + 2 to Ground + 5, the buildings’ main structure is detached from the base by the height of the first floor (ground +1) looking like a hollow joint and lighting up the volume of the buildings.
The conception of the building’s crowning is voluntarily innovative and differs from previous projects: made of two boxes placed freely on the bodies of the building anchoring plots, the attic aspires to more freedom. These volumes also contrast by their coverings: fitted with fine vertical slates, the attic becomes a changing object, where brown tones dominate, giving it a lighter feel when it is in fact a solid construction. These boxes open widely towards the sea, to the south, like a tube or hollow volume. This permits the access to beautiful walk-in shielded patios for the living units located within these boxes. The unobstructed view on the park and water pond gives a special status to these apartments.
The pergola roofs are designed as an extension of the vertical slates that cover the southern facades of the supporting bases. Implanted as large triangular shapes, truly shielding the units from the sun, the random organization of the horizontal vents are similar to the vertical portions; these pergolas can discreetly absorb the technical units necessary for solar panels for heating water and the elevator shaft. They offer a beautiful protection from the sun for the large accessible patios for the living units on the 5th floor. They play a unifying role for the building bases on the East/West axis along the park; these pergolas are ready to welcome climbing vegetation.