The Docks Dombasles / Hamonic + Masson architects

© Jean-Christophe Masson
© Jean-Christophe Masson

Architects: Hamonic + Masson architects
Location: Le Havre,
Project Team: Gaëlle Hamonic, Jean-Christophe Masson, Marie-Agnès de Bailliencourt, Cédric Brégeot
Client: Investir Immobilier
Hydraulic Engineer: EGCL
Structural Engineer: Peyronnel
Quantity Surveyor: Kabock
Project Area: 3,024 sqm
Budget: 3,20 M€
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Hervé Abbadie & Jean-Christophe Masson

© Hervé Abbadie © Hervé Abbadie © Hervé Abbadie © Hervé Abbadie

Hamonic et Masson’s mixed-use office and housing building is part of an initiative to preserve and reuse the industrial heritage of the southern quarters of Le Havre, France. Through its scale, rhythm, shape and materials, the project forms an integral part of a re-envisioned harbour landscape, creating the transition between a domestic scale and the greater harbour landscape.

site plan
site plan

A 19th century brick warehouse, or avéole, was conserved and incorporated into the project to house the office space required in the programme. The warehouse’s silhouette and scale subsequently inspired the repetitive module that was used for the housing portion of the project. The use of modules allowed for a prefabricated construction system, both for the concrete structure and the metal façade.

© Hervé Abbadie
© Hervé Abbadie

The southern, dockside, elevation comprises of a pattern of metal balustrades and sun-shading devices that refer to the character of the site: galvanised metal, grey fabric blinds that help enliven the façade and white fabric privacy screens.

The apartments are all double orientated with living spaces and large balconies facing south towards the water and services to the north. Outdoor passageways and staircases provide access to the apartments while also providing a dynamic northern façade.

© Hervé Abbadie
© Hervé Abbadie

To each apartment is given the same benefits – outdoor private space, direct southern light, sun shading systems and natural ventilation – despite the fact that the programme includes both social housing and high quality apartments for sale. The differences occur only within: owners buying off the plan were able to modify and adapt their apartments during construction, and the majority of private apartments have double height living rooms with mezzanines.

© Hervé Abbadie
© Hervé Abbadie

The entire building is lifted a half-floor above the quay to clearly define the limit between public and private space and to liberate the ground floor for a naturally ventilated parking and garden. This half-floor is enclosed by a pattern of perforated metal sheeting and green glass panels, graphically referring to the vegetation found in the neighbouring park and urban space, designed by Obras architects.

Cite: "The Docks Dombasles / Hamonic + Masson architects" 12 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Pierre Batbatian

    the concept is cool, but i dont really like it that much, it feels like its missing something

  • neoinc.

    i guess green roofing would be a nice thing…

  • Joshua

    good according with tradition style

  • sullka

    Those floor plan layouts are terrible. Of course, I’m commenting based only on what I see, no idea what’s behind that design decision.

    -TYPE A: why on earth would you make the main bedroom’s bath the powder room?, specially when you already have a secondary public bathroom (with 2 sinks and but no WC????), however, even if you want to do this (again, no idea why), you could easily fit a regular bathroom layout in there, plus a the walk-in-closet, plus the second door to the bedroom without separating bath from WC. It doesn’t makes any sense the way it’s now.

    -Type B: Unless there’s a scale issue, and those beds and furniture aren’t real size, that long bedroom in the second floor is wasting space that could be used to improve your second floor bath (private). Actually it looks that by rotaing the tub (transversal), you could fit a sink and a WC in that space already.

  • Julien

    Sullka –
    Plan 1: In France it is common practice (enforced by the Qualitel label) to separate the WC from the bathroom. With this in mind, the plan gives easy access to both from the living spaces (knowing that the building code dictates that toilets can not give directly onto the living room).
    Plan 2: The portion to the right has a head height under 2m (see the section) due to the sloping roof, hence not allowable in a bathroom (but perfectly alright for the bed).

    Both plans allow for natural ventilation, spacious/flexible living spaces and large sunny balconies.

  • Kārlis Mičulis

    nu nekā īpaša.