BETWEEN OPENNESS AND INTIMACY
The Paul Meurice home for disabled adults poses the question of the balance between mastering intimacy and opening to the outside world. We respond carefully through spaces that can be widely appropriated and a variety of architectural situations.
We have imagined a south-facing, stepped building which allows light into the inner courtyard and whose volumes stretch out, recede, and produce sliding variations in the grid of staggered windows.
The facades open generously out towards the city, through large domestic windows for the apartments, and large urban windows for the common areas. The generosity of the spaces relies upon the legibility and continuity of the common areas.
The successive tiers of the building, induced by its stepped volume, were designed as "open-air rooms": terraces surrounded by facades so that residents can enjoy outdoor spaces without the risk of falling.
The final level opens onto a vast, panoramic collective terrace.
UNITS OF USE
The building is organized around two circulation cores, the primary core being situated in the north and a secondary, in the south. This functional arrangement responds as much to a need for flexibility of use as to security constraints.
A large entrance hall and the day reception centre are located on the ground floor, with access to the garden, while the first floor hosts a restaurant, rooms for activities offered to residents, and spaces dedicated to administration.
The accommodation units form groups of two levels situated on the second and third floors and on the fourth and fifth floors. No apartment is mono-oriented north and the services are installed back-to-back with the adjoining building to the North-East. The structure is load-bearing between the facade and the circulation cores, which facilitates the modification of interior divisions.
A large elevator, like a moving room, connects the entire program by opening onto a living room at each floor.
ROBUSTNESS AND DOMESTICITY
The choice of materials contributes to domestic atmosphere desired for the centre.
The building envelope, consisting of an externally insulated concrete wall lined with solid bricks, is particularly efficient and robust. The aluminium windows offer a resistant materiality and an anodized colour in harmony with the grey brick.
Glazed guardrails integrated into the window frames allow for the incorporation of external textile blinds guided over the entire window height. An interior sheer curtain completes the window design.
Homes for adults with disabilities are commonly horizontal and introverted institutions. The dense urban context and the desire to include residents within the urban environment lead to a profound questioning of this typology: a vertical organization, a nuanced institutional character and an emphasis on openness, comfort and domesticity.