The building is part of a major and innovative operation to improve the urban environment around Porte Pouchet bordering on Paris (17th district), the Parisian ring road, Clichy and Saint-Ouen. Nine teams of architects worked together to create 180 housing units, as part of a workshop named “Autrement Rue Rebière” and chaired by Paris Habitat and Périphériques architects. The idea of narrowing the section of Rue Rebière that runs alongside the Parisian Batignolles cemetery leads to recovery a strip of almost 600m in length and 12.60m in width.
As the figurehead of the “Autrement rue Rebière” project, the 21 social housing units designed by Hondelatte Laporte Architectes are located in two buildings, of three and nine floors, separated by a garden of Japanese cherry trees. The most of the flats boast dual or triple orientations: south, south-east and south-west facing. The flats are very bright in order to increase the impression of surface area.
The urban planning regulation prohibits housing units from having openings with views facing the cemetery (north façade). All façades, including those facing the cemetery have not been differentiated deliberately. They are all made up of dual-colour panels (white and galvanized metal) in a check pattern. According to the light, the time of day and the viewpoint, they reflect different colours.
Detached from the building, three elegant columns of covered flower-shaped terraces spiral upwards. Each housing unit has its own remarkable terrace, designed as an “extra room” with specific qualities: it is an independent, hybrid space somewhere between the exterior and the interior, and its specific colour gives each flat its own atmosphere. These 14 sqm open rooms, directly connecting to the living room, offer a range of uses and have lighting. This size means that there is space enough for eight people seating around a table or for hammocks to be hung up. The inhabitants can enjoy 360° views, overlooking the 11 green hectares of the Batignolles cemetery, the major green space at Porte Pouchet. From the 5th floor, the Paris cityscape opens up, from Montmartre, to the Tour Eiffel.