This housing for elderly people is located in the city of Huningue (France), on the border with Switzerland, on the banks of the Rhine. The exceptional situation of the site allowed us to turn the common areas and the hall towards the river: the residents can enjoy the choreography of passing boats. The programme consists of 25 units of 50 square meter each, a restaurant in three sections, a computer room, a hobby workshop, a vegetable garden. The proximity to the housing and the adjacent buildings required the building to be set back at the back of the plot. This setback thus offers a square and an area for playing pétanque on the street side. The opening on the Rhine allows residents to enjoy a terrace. Everything is organised to foster relations among the residents. Collective living spaces are as generous as possible, with abundant natural light. We have designed places that encourage exchanges and social interaction. Encounter-inviting events and sequences punctuate the routes. It was about offering meeting places, places that residents could share, places where people felt good and where they would be proud to be. The staircase stands at the centre of the building, rendering it unavoidable. In combination with the wide central space, it invites mobility. Upstairs, the patio brings light from the south into the heart of the building. The white volume inside seems suspended; it deconstructs the empty space and lends a certain strangeness to the whole. There is a kind of homogeneity between the exterior and the of the building. Inside, red concrete, terracotta and wood produce a benevolent and warm atmosphere. Exposed concrete keeps track of how the wall was built. It preserves the history of the construction. Imperfections are part of the game of construction: as with stone, it is above all faults that give personality to the place. Exposed concrete is a noble material. The deep red color, almost earth-colored, gives a poetic dimension to the space. We have the feeling of being encompassed by the space that we wanted to be as noble as possible. Outside, the building is enveloped in brick on all sides. We selected a craft brick that is non-standard, irregular and occasionally misshapen. The walls catch the light; by emphasising its rustic port setting, the building connects itself to the history of the Rhine. The building seeks to integrate while asserting its status as a public building with a strong identity.
Located in the heart of Strasbourg, Dominique Coulon & Associés is a firm of architects of national and international renown.
For more than 25 years, the agency has earned a reputation for the quality of the public facilities it designs. It has worked on a wide and varied range of programmes, including a media library, music school, auditorium, school complex, swimming pool, sports facilities, a residential home for the dependent elderly, and housing. The agency has received many awards and distinctions.
Dominique Coulon and his associate Steve Lethos Duclos allow their intuition to lead the way as they seek to develop contextual projects that combine contrast and complexity, where the outer envelope hints at inner richness. Spatial quality and natural light are fundamental elements in every project: space is always controlled by precise geometry.