In the urban landscape of northeast Paris, this project sits at the crossroads of several transport networks: the major artery Boulevard Mac Donald, the Parisian beltway, the canal Saint-Denis, and the railway axis leading to the Gare de l’Est train station.
By virtue of its verticality and the autonomy of its form, the building signals and highlights the intersection of these diverse networks. A visual landmark, it marks the alignment of the canal from the confines of Saint-Denis to Aubervilliers. As seen from the Port of Aubervilliers, it constitutes a background to the large thoroughfare of Boulevard Mac Donald.
From close up, the fragmentation of two of the buildings articulates the different scales and urban ambiances and landscapes of the boulevard and canal.
On the boulevard side, the building links up precisely with the neighbouring project. The façade is inflected to accompany the public space, a shell folding around the parcel limits.
The variation in building heights and architectures between the boulevard and the quay furthers the uniqueness of the two different expositions and public spaces - the two urban universes meet in one site.
The split in the volumes articulates these two different façades as well as opening up the interior of the site and in harmony with the composition of the neighbouring one. It also permits views onto the inner garden which develops from the ground onto the façade. The visual porosity is reinforced by the treatment of the raised base of the project.
The highly contrasted façades express the double orientation of the apartments.
On the boulevard façade to the north, highly exposed to ambient noise from the street, the expression of a single window gives witness to the desired comfort and the will to open up the interiors to unique views.
The façade detail offers the luxury of a large window yet respects the necessary acoustical insulation. This disposition allows the reduction of the operable windows while protecting the apartments acoustically.
The repetition of the façades allows an economy of scale without sacrifices to precision while the pattern avoids monotony thanks to the power of the building volume and skin.
At the corner, the rounded glass façade works as a hinge, assuring the shift between the two façade typologies.
On the courtyard side of the building, the vegetation becomes the priviliged material of a more intimate architecture. From the garden boxes installed on the balconies, climbing and hanging plants colonise the metal structures.
The courtyard façades oriented southwest and southeast are characterised by their exterior extensions and dynamic geometries, all unified by the vegetation.
All apartments are accessed via the interior gardens which are accessed from the quay at ground level. Residents first cross the fence limiting the private from public space, then join one of four halls in the two buildings by taking a walkway slightly raised above the garden and protected from the elements by the balconies above.
Each apartment benefits from two or even three orientations, most noticeable in the three bedroom units which constitute the majority of the apartment sizes. These are situated along the boulevard, the gardens to the south, and the canal to the west. On the last two floors, the largest units, sometimes in duplex, have vast terraces.
A copper shell, fitted to the site on the north façade reflects light far away and down to the canal.
Inversely, the courtyard façade unites metal, concrete and vegetation to create a calming and peaceful space.
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