Density and lightness are the characteristic qualities of Lot D, designed by architects Cédric Petitdidier and Vincent Prioux. With 109 apartments, making it the largest public housing development in the Boucicaut ZAC1, the building articulates around three independent staircases. In total, it offers 24 government-sponsored and 77 rent-controlled apartments (€17.70/sqm), and 8 residential units for people with disabilities. The project is headed by Nexity, appointed project manager by developer CARAC and public housing agency Élogie. Entirely clad in bricks, this project marks the completion of the surrounding ecodristrict, offering a reinterpretation of Paris courtyards that connects Rue des Cévennes with the park that lies in the centre of the district.
REASONED DENSITY The design of the project offering 109 apartments within the Boucicaut ZAC relies on two solutions to lessen the impact of the project’s high density: Stretching across the project is a courtyard, surrounded by four facades (windows open mainly onto kitchens, bedrooms and a few bathrooms), much like traditional Paris courtyards. This space is as much a public space for pedestrians by day as a garden serving each entrance on the lot. Its dimensions and proportions
provide excellent ventilation and allow sunlight to flood the courtyard all day long. The bulk of the programme is contained within the boundaries set by two strips running perpendicular to Rue des Cévennes and materialised by two solid brick buildings, consistent with the area’s architectural vocabulary. The two strips are linked together at both ends by two suspended buildings, one facing the street, the other facing the park, creating clusters of interlocking blocks: the clouds.
LOGGIAS,TERRACES The distribution of the apartments inside the strip and cloud buildings gives them distinct and specific qualities, particularly evidenced by their exteriors: The strip buildings are designed strictly as orthogonal shapes, each delineating a frame enclosing the apartments and their adjoining loggias or running balconies overlooking Rue des Cévennes. The rectangular layout means all corners can be used, (including those on the courtyard’s side), providing a large number of apartments with adequate visibility and orientation. By designing the exteriors based on each apartment’s location within the building and by favouring dual-aspect floor plans, the project demonstrates that it is possible to reconcile access to views with orientation and space planning concerns in a highly populated urban context. Strategically placed in proximity to the four inside corners of the courtyard, the vertical accesses deliver simple circulation, and receive natural light on the higher floors.
ENVIRONMENTAL APPROACH In addition to the programme’s social dimension, the whole concept was also shaped by a strong concern for environmental issues. Sustainable development, biodiversity, social and generational mix are key values within this new district. A number of innovating solutions have been implemented to help reduce energy consumption. For instance, the buildings’ bioclimatic design required all residential spaces to be oriented based on the direction of sunlight.
High-performance insulation and solar protection on the facades deliver greater comfort inside the apartments. And about 50% of the district’s needs in hot water is supplied by solar thermal panels fitted on the buildings’ roofs.
TO ZOOM ON BRICKS Urbanists and architects alike wanted to echo the old hospital’s entrance that still stands behind the programme. The walls were clad with ochre and yellow bricks, framed by cornerstones and stone elements and underlined by darker, red brick cornices, giving it a more institutional look. In order to echo the old hospital without imitating it, the shade of the façade was rendered by the use of several different-coloured bricks: sand (40%) and flamed sand (40%) for
the bulk of the façade – bringing a slightly golden hue that changes with light –, 10% brown and the rest in red. During construction, the four shades of bricks were laid with regularity and harmony, according to a pattern where the darker bricks highlight the general shade of the façade.