The Stopover | Paris, France | 2017

Dear A,
Since yesterday we overlook the city.
The view is breathtaking. The calm night and its soft lights predict a radiant future. In the distance we perceive mythical roofs, lying on their backs with their little legs in the air, the metropolitan tranquility, and the symbol of an already seen new world. But I am not going to bore you here with a long description. Between us, nobody reads boring descriptions until the end. Whatever, this arrival is a new beginning. We left the immediate and exhausting reality. We left gravity, inertia, and daily opacity behind us.
This is where we will stay.

We found an unalterable sanctuary in this glass ship at the top of the zinc mountain. The elsewhere starts here. We think of you from our viewing point. Sometimes we like to imagine that you appear in this landscape we cannot stop contemplating. We will write to you tomorrow for more details. As for leaving the city, we do not think about it anymore.

Narrowness versus generosity
To develop a housing building in a typical Parisian (and suburban) context, means to negotiate with particular constraints, linked with the Parisian density. The aim is to take advantage of those rules to offer a welcoming and innovative image of domestic architecture. It is about dealing with the situation of the project. It means as many advantages (a crossed over plot between two streets, a difference of height of one full level) than inconveniences (narrowness of the plot, impressive adjoining buildings).

Particularly, the architecture of the closest neighbors, (a large 70’s high rise building and the late 90’s building from Frédéric Borel) imposes strong architectural volumetry. They are strong but also rather autarkic architectures, with which the dialogue or a type of continuity seem hard to settle. All in all, this context is begging for a new urban singularity, which will in the same time fully explore the urban possibilities and stand as a strong but different kind of architecture than its neighbors.

Restrained by questions of density and efficiency, the project’s profile is entirely defined by the street’s minimum distance rules. As a result, two vertical prisms compose the main geometry, linked by a thinner central building orientated toward the garden and the light (thanks to a six meters step back from the street).

The heights of the building are defined by the street’s minimal distance rules: R+4 rue des Pavillons, R+7 rue Pelleport. The difference of height is even exaggerated by the one level difference of ground, which seems to add another level when seen from the courtyard. The housings are sharing common principles, declined in several typologies. Besides the studios, they all have double orientations, with generous exterior spaces – terraces and loggias –. They let the light in, with a mainly east/west orientation. The volumetric fragmentation of the project allows a large variety of typologies, in each case with its own particularities and relations with its environment.

Visible from the rue des Pavillons but in the tranquility of the heart of the block, the garden is a quiet space. The whole ground floor is a generous free space for the inhabitants, with a green area. Sometimes with a roof, sometimes opened on the sky, it becomes courtyard, garden, bike garage, and playground.
In order to preserve intimacy and to protect against sunshine, the project is provided with filters, developed in three materials: Natural anodized aluminum, fabric and glass. The façade reacting to a game of shadows and light becomes an abstract texture, locally changing according to its uses.

A last strong image for t​​his project in its heterogeneous context would be the demonstration that comfort and expressiveness can be expressed even in an almost interstitial plot, which can not anymore be doomed to narrowness.​ ​Text description by the architects.

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Photography by: Julien Hourcade + Maxime Delvaux + Jesús Granada