Heritage and insertion
The project is established on the former open-air parking lot of the Pré l'Arpent housing estate, mainly occupied by wrecked vehicles. This housing complex, built in 1974 by the Andrault and Parat agency, consists of a three-story stepped building with a first floor parking lot at its heart. This construction of high heritage quality demonstrates a time when these architects sought to reconcile the qualities of collective and individual housing through intermediate housing. They designed several variations of the kind throughout the territory.
Like many social landlords, pushed by the scarcity of land, Valophis habitat is seeking to develop its housing stock by densifying free spaces of its properties. Here, the commission consists of raising a new construction of twenty housing units on the gable end of this heritage building, continuously to the Pré l'Arpent housing estate.
The parti of this design was to deliberately avoid any strategy of mimicry, or on the contrary of affirmed duality, which would have led in both cases to a weakened project of the existing building. The method was therefore to build a simple volume with a compatible and discrete vocabulary, with great sobriety.
Volume and materiality
We conceived a built volume of three levels suspended on a ground floor void housing the parking lots. In order to encounter the horizontal strata of the neighboring terraces, the volume has horizontal lines marked by large strips. Always in a spirit of resonance, the filling of the facades between these horizontal lines is composed of concrete bricks of white color of very long length, reminiscent of the neighboring brick.
In this search for deletion, the openings are of identical size and are arranged in a double vertical and horizontal grid that is strictly systematic.
The last level, strongly set back, lightens and gives the building a horizontal silhouette. A concrete cap, intensifying the prow-shape of the whole, extends the front of this attic. The materials are raw on the first floor (concrete and masonry) and white on the floors.
It is this sobriety of material, of color and volume, as well as in the reinterpretation of the architectural vocabulary of the neighboring building - height, expression of horizontality, vertical bays, bi-materiality of the current facades - that we believe is the necessary tribute to the work of Andrault and Parat.
In order to preserve the high water table, two sunken retention lawns, largely vegetated, have been laid out on either side of the building. They generate a quality semi-humid landscape and ecologically virtuous, encouraging the development of biodiversity.
Access to the hall from the street is made through a pathway crossing the water garden.
In order to expose the natural path of rainwater, the balconies and terraces have rectangular barbicans on the edges, equipped with chains that guide rainwater to the two recessed lawns.
Similarly, roof water passes through the technical ducts of the apartments, runs along the underside of the high floor of the parking lot, goes down against the columns and ends up in cast-iron gutters that flow into the water gardens.
The comfort of living is primarily generated by a precise bioclimatic implementation of the apartments. Thus, on each level, four out of five apartments have a double orientation or are crossing. The only mono-oriented apartment is open to the west. The double-oriented apartments are designed with corner living rooms extended by balconies. The landings are also designed for living comfort: a large bay window installed in front of the elevator makes it a bright and friendly space conducive to conversation between residents.