HOMAGE TO HAUSSMANN
Lot 4.2 is part of the new Clichy-Batignolles mixed development area and is located at the edge of boulevard Pereire, at the meeting point of two different periods in the history of Paris’ urban development. The building plays a key role in linking these two architectural worlds.
The project renders homage to Paris and the 19th century architecture of the Haussmann building. It seeks to preserve the “intrinsic intelligence of this form,” which has allowed the buildings constructed during the Haussmann period to survive many changes and grow with the city, providing multiple, often very different uses of the same building.
The Haussmann building was designed primarily as a place of residence for the bourgeoisie, but it revealed itself to be an extraordinarily open architecture capable of incorporating other uses besides habitation: offices, stores, workshops, schools, etc.
There are common characteristics in all these architectures that lie at the base of this flexibility: a clear structure, a ground floor that is accessible from the street and which can extend to include the mezzanine, a wealth and variety of door and window openings to allow for the construction of all kinds of plans, variable heights in the floors, adequate thickness, and a high level of compactness. The project considers these values as the great heritage of the Parisian building, and we have sought to translate them into an architecture that forms part of the city’s current logic, but which also offers solutions to current and future challenges.
The volume is a perfect extrusion of the triangular parcel which fully exploits all the plot’s spatial possibilities. Through its flexibility, the project introduces the notion that by emptying an architecture of its program, a building generates potential that will accompany the evolutions in urban development and allow it to respond more readily to changes in use. The rue de Saussure building seeks to anticipate needs and changes by proposing a full reversibility between a residential and an office building.
At the same time, this sense of openness gives each residence a very particular quality. The apartments have a lot of windows and are very well lit and spacious. They are all set up around a loggia, an extension of the interior living space towards the exterior. This type of patio also has a thermal function, introducing a new orientation in the building that helps ventilate the housing during the summer months.
The materials favor a certain sobriety and are limited in number: polished concrete tinted black for the prefabricated panels for the façade, black lacquered aluminum for the concealed opening frames, glass for the windows, both for the half-height windows and the railings, stainless steel mesh, etc.
“In Paris, the transformation of flats into offices and of offices into flats is an opportunity to come to grips with this sort of fertile offsets and ‘resistance’. Whenever you have something that is serving another purpose than the one it was designed for, there’s a chance of getting away from norms and repetitiveness. Which is one of the most promising paths of modernity is mutation.” Jean Nouvel
PROGRAM: 40 housing units and commercial spaces
LOCATION: ZAC Saussure Pont Cardinet, Îlot 4.2, Paris 17e
NUA: 3,700m2 Floor Area: 2,900m2
BUDGET: EUR 5.9M, before taxes
SCHEDULE: 2010 – 2014