Text description provided by the architects. The development zone at La Pelousière in Saint Herblain benefits from an excellent location between city and countryside. Nature encompasses the site and our project takes full advantage of its rolling topography and wooded environs. The approach to the buildings design allows one to perceive both the depth and transparency in the different volumes and to enjoy views out on to the landscape. The project comprises two buildings: the first is located parallel to the western border of the plot and the second is at right angles to the rue des Marais.
Although the same design approach has been used for both buildings each has a unique way of interacting with the landscape. Building A is embedded in the slope of the site without modifying the profile of the existing landscape. On the street side, the building sits slightly below ground level while on the valley side the underground level is exposed. The ground floor flats thus profit fully from overhanging the meadow. Building B sits at ground level and offers direct access to the outside from the ground floor flats.
The positioning of the two buildings allows for views towards the valley and creates a central space for an urban yard. This yard is the beating heart of the project and gives a space where people can meet, talk and exchange views. All of the parking is contained within the buildings leaving the courtyard free for uniquely pedestrian use.
It is one project but there are many ways of discovering the buildings, each one of them is adapting, adjusting and reacting to their surroundings. Both buildings are rectangular in shape allowing for a straight-forward and rational structure on which balconies of varying lengths are hung. It is these variations which punctuate and bring a welcome contrast to the otherwise rigorously shaped façades. This use of the balconies as a punctuation is continued with the positioning of storage spaces and winter gardens giving a random feel to the overall aesthetic. The winter gardens, reserved for the larger apartments, help to animate further the northern façade by acting as big windows which look out onto the natural landscape.
The project has been developed with the key thoughts of social interactions and a healthy way of communal leaving very much to the fore. This in turn offers to the future residents not only a home but access to a collective way of life through shared spaces such as:
-The urban yard, a public square which acts as a meeting space, somewhere to sit, relax and talk with the neighbours. Its raised height lends it a sense of safety and security. This space also functions as circulation allowing for a natural flow between the buildings and the shared communal areas.
-The common room, a space located directly beneath the yard on the basement level which opens onto the meadow. The use of this area is left up to the creativity of the residents (library, gardening, workshop etc…)
- A shared garden is situated across from the common room and is a gathering / meeting space aimed towards social interaction and bonding.