Publicly Accessible Buildings

Paris gets a metallic edge

VIB Architecture has created a residence in Paris with student housing and a children’s nursery that features an aluminium skin

by Nick Myall 26 October 2015 Urban design
  • © Photos Cyrille Lallement Click image to expand

    © Photos Cyrille Lallement

  • © Photos Cyrille Lallement Click image to expand

    © Photos Cyrille Lallement

  • © Photos Cyrille Lallement Click image to expand

    © Photos Cyrille Lallement

  • © Photos Cyrille Lallement Click image to expand

    © Photos Cyrille Lallement

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    On 117 rue de Ménilmontant in one of Paris’s busy northern neighbourhoods, VIB Architecture took possession of a long and narrow plot to construct and rehabilitate several buildings for a mixed-use program: a residence with 89 student housing units and a nursery for 66 children.

    The faubourg of Belleville, located on one of the two main hills of Paris, is characterised by its heterogeneous architecture, with buildings from various periods, with different heights and various programs. One of them is the “Pavillon du Carré Baudouin” built in the XVIIIth century as a place of pleasure and leisure, which is now an exhibition space attached to a small park open to the public. There is also an old orphanage, some Haussman buildings or small houses and workshops.

    The project takes advantage of Paris’s specific urban rules: apartments are located on the street and rise to the 7th floor, while the childcare centre is located around a quiet and sunny courtyard at the back, among smaller scale additions and small roofs. The existing building links the two programs together. The front building is itself fragmented and split in two. The first part stands out along the park with rounded corners and aluminium skin while the second building picks up the geometrical typology of the nearby buildings and declines towards the middle of the plot and the existing building.

    The porch created by the two volumes initiates the main composition axis and leads to the childcare centre and its inner garden.

    The student building’s ground plan is designed around several main flux like the path to the nursery and the vehicle and pedestrian access to the next door’s yard. It also houses the lobby for the apartments, the student community room and the bike-park.

    The glazed staircase allows an inter-stage use and facilitates exchanges between students, without imposing the use of the elevator. The wing of the building on the park side, with its aluminium skin, hosts 49 students on 7 floors. The other part of the building hosts 32 students on 7 floors and offers on the 5th floor a common rooftop with a panoramic view of Paris. All rooms are suitable for disabled people.

    The nursery occupies the entire ground floor with service functions like the cloakroom for staff, kitchens, or push-chair storages. On the first floor, most of the space is occupied by student duplexes.

    While the ground rooms are dedicated to the smaller kids, rooms on the upper floor are designed for the ones in their intermediate and last years of nursery. All have access to an outside play area and are doubled by sleeping spaces.

    The centre garden stretches the Parisian asphalt floor into the plot and provides for the transition between the public space of the street and the interiority of the buildings. Set in front of the entry to the nursery, it is preserved from the street and offers a place where people can meet, discuss or have a break.

    The WAN Mixed-Use Award 2015 is open to enter until 31st October. - To see more Click here

    Nick Myall

    News Editor

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