18 social housing units in Valenton / Benjamin Fleury Architect-Urbanist
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Manufacturers: KEIM, Atlas Schindler, Cronimus, Sfel, Tarkett, Alphacan, Atlantic, Desvres, EPSILON, Joricidal, LALLEMANT, lady light, skylight
Text description provided by the architects. The project is located on the former open-air car park of the Pré l’Arpent subdivision, mainly occupied by damaged vehicles. This real estate complex, built in 1974 by the Andrault et Parat agency, consists of a three-storey stepped building with a car park on the first floor at its heart. This construction of high heritage quality bears witness to a time when these architects sought to reconcile the qualities of collective and individual housing through intermediate housing. They have designed several variations throughout the territory.
Like many social landlords, driven by the scarcity of land, Valophis habitat seeks to develop its housing stock by increasing the density of the open spaces in its buildings. Here, the order consists of erecting a new construction of around twenty housing units against the gable of this heritage building, in the continuity of the Pré l’Arpent subdivision. The choice of this design was to deliberately avoid any strategy of mimicry, or on the contrary of asserted 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 discreet vocabulary, with great sobriety.
We proposed a built volume of three levels suspended on a ground floor void housing the car parks. In order to meet the horizontal strata of the neighboring terraces, the volume presents horizontal lines marked by bands. Always in a spirit of resonance, the filling of the facades between these horizontal lines is composed of very long white concrete slabs, reminiscent of the neighboring brick.
In this search for suppression, the openings are of identical size and are arranged in a strictly regular double vertical and horizontal grid. The last level, strongly set back, lightens and gives the building a horizontal silhouette. A concrete cap, reinforcing the effect of the bow of the whole, extends the facade of this attic. The materials are raw on the first floor (concrete and masonry) and white on the upper floors.
It is in this sobriety of material, color, and volume, as well as in the reinterpretation of the architectural vocabulary of the neighboring building – size, expression of horizontality, vertical spans, bi-materiality of the current facades – that we estimate the necessary tribute to the operation of Andrault and Parat.
In order not to impact the flush water table, two buried retention lawns, largely vegetated, have been laid out on either side of the building. They generate a quality semi-humid landscape and are ecologically virtuous, promoting the development of biodiversity. Access to the room from the street is via a path crossing the water garden. In order to make the natural course of rainwater legible, the balconies and terraces are equipped with rectangular barbicans on the edges equipped with chains which guide the rainwater towards the two indented lawns.
Similarly, the water from the roof crosses the service ducts of the apartments, runs along the basement of the upper floor of the car park, descends against the posts, and ends up in cast iron gutters which flow into the water gardens.
The comfort of life is above all generated by a precise bioclimatic layout of the apartments. Thus, at each level, four apartments out of five have a double orientation or are through. The only mono-oriented apartment is open to the west. The through 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 a conversation between residents.