Text description provided by the architects. Face to face / Back to back.
This project's singularity is linked to the specificity of its lot, which combines a deep inside block space to a narrow street frontage. The definition of its mass plan is thus directly connected to the existing urban fabric, the position of the neighboring buildings creating de facto back to back or face to face situations. The project is composed of 4 buildings, one facing the avenue, and the three others organized along a pedestrian passage that runs the full depth of the lot.
Proximity and inside spaces.
This constraining organization needs to think the dwellings' orientation and their inner spatiality in an appropriate manner. Consequently, the main buildings facades are of two types, fully glazed in front of the balconies, terraces and gardens, or protected by a window sill on the more exposed facades.
The dwellings benefit from two orientations, which is also the case of their main living spaces, whose facades are furthermore equipped with venetian orientable blinds, devices that allow the user to combine intimacy and sun penetration.
Density / Individualization.
These contextual parameters are part of a broader reflexion that aims to produce an urban architecture, meaning compact, repetitive, neutral, while proposing very individualized dwellings, with generous outside spaces, and assembled in a reasonable bulk, an organization that allows to skip elevators and to simplify the overall technical organization of the buildings.
This typological research consequently leads to a distribution system close to individual standards (no inside common spaces, access to the dwellings via their outside private spaces…), but integrated in a legible and uniting entity that suits the very urban context of the project.
Metropolitan images / neutrality.
In this very dense setting, the buildings step from their surrounding, while borrowing some features to generic referents visible on the adjacent lots or in a broader perimeter : off-white brick façade, corrugated steel roof, large openings and outside spaces, are indeed characteristics that draw their inspiration from the craft workshops of the XIXth century, but also from a qualitative residential post-war architecture.
The building facing the main avenue is composed of a commercial base and a high urban porch that opens up the view to the back of the lot, and of 4 levels of dwellings. This façade's layout is a re-interpretation of the classical themes of the great urban boulevards, a very open base and main stories where off-white brick facings are combined with wide aluminum frame windows. On the rear, the materials are more diverse, and architectonics elements are expressed more freely (outside stairs, roofs, rain water collectors…). The brick is here completed by galvanized steel panels, corrugated steel roof coverings and cloudy glazing.
Open structure / tectonic.
The diversity and the typological imbrication, our will to open up the dwellings to the outside, combined to our former experimentations on light wall structures, naturally led us to conceive a structure that integrates the inner constraints of the dwellings construction (balconies on level, integration of occultation devices…) while offering for the building an easy evolution on a longer term.
The structure is composed as following:
- laminated steel profiles (posts and beams) that supports preconstraint concrete slabs (span ±7m)
- light wall structure of the non-bearing facades composed of 50x50mm steel profiles, on which are assembled aluminium window frames or wood panels covered with a waterstop membrane and steel or brick facings.
This complex thus creates large open plans, liberated from all structural constraints, freedom that is very simply expressed in the facades' compositions, where sills, glazed parts and bricks side walls are assembled like in a paper model, revealing clearly their seams and their infill status.