Architects: Atelier du Pont / Member of the collective PLAN01)
Location: Paris, France
Project Director: Aquilino Torrao
Project Team: Anne-Cécile Comar, Philippe Croisier, Stéphane Pertisier
Co-contractors: evp Ingénierie, Structural design engineers; Delta Fluides, construction services
General Services: FARC
Project Area: 658 sqm
Budget: 1,380,000 euros
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Luc Boegly
This large block of 8 flats merges smoothly into the heterogeneity of the Impasse Daunay cul-de-sac.
Facing the street, the textured glass skin covering the facades pays discreet homage to the glass walls of the artists’ studios in this Père Lachaise neighbourhood.
The choice of glass, used here for the facade covering, parapets, transparent partitions for common areas or simply as windows, has an aesthetic appeal in its uniformity of material and stark simplicity in keeping with the project’s general low key approach: just 8 housing units in a little cul-de-sac.
Glass being also the most durable material of all, this choice reflects therefore the project’s environmental credentials.
But on taking a closer look, you can see a subtle interplay of illumination and reflections. From the façade’s plain printed glass panels to the clear glazing of the opening windows in the rooms and common areas, and the textured glass in the fixed windows on the landings, the materials vary according to the use and the protected areas in order to maximise the amount of natural light while preserving the occupants’ privacy. The windows are naturally made of clear glass and can be opened for maintenance purposes.
On the courtyard side, the retified pine cladding extends the ambiance of the neighbouring condominium‘s garden. Sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the town, this open-work wood facade is more ‘sensitive’. The thermal insulation muffles the noise and reduces echoing in the courtyard. The pine used is certificated and comes from local sources. It is treated at very high temperatures to extract moisture, and therefore requires no maintenance.
The orange colour of the communal areas has the effect of highlighting the glass’s dominant hard characteristic. The systematic nature of this monochrome look is counter-balanced by the vivid brightness of the common areas. In the street, the colour is relatively unobtrusive and is visible only in the entrance.
Beneath its quiet exterior, this apartment block sets the stage for a modern revolution: it contains the very first housing units of the Paris ‘climate plan’. The environmental approach is this project’s corner-stone based on:
- maximum natural lighting of all areas: the apartments (main rooms, kitchen, bathroom, entrance hall, etc) and the common areas (landings, staircase, bicycle sheds., boiler room)
- research into the optimum layout of the living spaces; thermal performance: communal gas heating is provided by a condensing boiler and hot water by solar panels
‘CLIMATE PLAN’ ADOPTION IN MID-CONSTRUCTION
The history of these apartments in the Impasse Daunay is rather unusual. When atelier du pont was entrusted with the project management of this block of 8 apartments, the aim of SIEMP was to construct a building to THPE (Very high energy performance) standards. During construction, SIEMP asked atelier du pont if it would be possible to have the project comply with the objectives of the climate plan and achieve an annual energy consumption of less than 50 Whep/m2.
Thanks to PLAN02, atelier du pont was able to produce the necessary designs in-house and thus react quickly without delaying the work in progress. Hypothetical performance simulations were carried out for the facades, roofing and fixtures. These showed that the BBC label (Low energy consumption building) and the ‘climate plan’ were objectives achievable by improving the quality of the outer shell and increasing production of renewable energy (use of solar power).
The relative ease with which the climate plan was followed can be explained by a general environmental awareness of the project’s architectural principles, including:
- the choice of high compactness, its solid look of an undivided large old townhouse
- the choice of natural illumination of walkways and service areas
- the choice of natural illumination of all rooms in each apartment
These initial choices were dictated by the desire to give this building real user quality (bright, well-ventilated and well-lit double-oriented apartments, staircases and common areas lit by natural light) and to rely on the enhancement of these common areas to encourage the occupants’ greater involvement in saving resources and their ‘proper’ use of the premises. The Impasse Daunay example strengthens atelier du pont and PLAN02 in their conviction that environmental qualities and user qualities are intimately linked. Together they generate social value and guarantee real project sustainability.-