Text description provided by the architects. In the context of the reconversion of the ancient site of the hospital Hérold, conceived by Philippe Madec in Paris 19th arrondissement, Jakob + MacFarlane establish/design three mineral forms standing free on a kind of slope triangular island planted with some trees. These three forms, grow like roots on portions of the territory that have been freed by the constraints of the site : protected trees, the ancient existing wall of the beltway, the size and prospect, the not buildable surfaces or the difference in height. Their shapes are at the same time the result of these constraints and a matrix structure generated by an irregular grid on the floor.
The organization of the vertical orthogonal plans is the result of this grid and of the limitation of the territory; it forms the carrying structure of the buildings. The structure develops at the same time a thick base and horizontal plans that are formed by irregular segments on a regular frame that result in the levels of the floors.
Three blocks up to 5 and 6 floors high result out of this rough skeleton in concrete, in opposition to a dense environment made of HBM. From an urban point of view, these autonomous rocks favor the porosities towards the heart of the isle and recreate a discontinuity against the wall of the HBM.
The silhouette and façade of the buildings are delimited by faceted outlines. Starting from the 4th floor the profiles get thicker and thinner. The outside walls develop similar too long segments dissociated from the floor by a hollow joint. The best oriented façades are set up by multiple bays off all heights.
The apartments are protected from the urban space of the Boulevard Serurier by different vertical filters: the outer wall, the trees, the railing that is slightly set back from the edge of the balcony, the etfe curtain that creates a winter garden between the deep balcony, treated as a gangway and the façade.
There are a number of contractions that result into a terrace on the last floor. Combined with aluminium carpentry interrupted by thermic bridges and an exterior isolation, those contractions make it possible to improve the thermic performances of the envelope, also by the intrinsic organization of the utilities. It is the same for the roofs made of solar panels and planted with sedum. The passive role of the etfe, used as a curtain on a fixed rail, protects the balconies from the wind.
The outside spaces become at the same time a sort of micro ecosystems and technical support in order to recuperate the rain water. The edges of the balconies are made of porous volcanic stone and musk, a watering system is also integrated. The garden, situated on the ground-floor and creating a huge green platform in the heart of the isle, follows the same principle of ecosystem. A walkway goes along the façades that are oriented towards the boulevard, perforates the isles, surrounds and joins them. The ground shapes a topography of a terrace garden, delimited by low mineral strip and protected by a supporting wall in millstone. There are multiple green spaces, arranged according to a grid from which come out high stems, trees.
The bed and living rooms are generally oriented towards the heart of the isle, the technical blocks and the circulation landings towards east and north. The apartments develop from the vertical circulations in the heart of the buildings that lead into seven apartments.
From a typological point of view there is certain fluidity in the plans. Sliding walls define the space and liberate the façades into a plan of continuity. They allow more permeability and flexibility for the user. The corridors are reduced to the minimum. The entry is a point of distribution opening on the big diagonals of the living room and the other rooms. Hence, the attention is drawn towards the notion of panorama. This will to make the space bigger is also present on the small surfaces. As soon as one enters, the look is drawn towards the outside.
Finally, the project is unified by the “earth” color of the railing, outside walls and façade panels. Through this project, the firm anticipates architectonically the environmental constraints and explores the notion of the gangway, playing with compactness and integrating ecological principles and high technical skill.