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In Bordeaux, France, MVRDV has completed Ilot Queyries, a courtyard apartment building that combines intimate streetscapes with expansive green space. The site is located to the east of the River Garonne and across from the city’s UNESCO World Heritage historic centre.
The courtyard apartment building provides 282 homes – including 128 for social housing – parking, commercial space, and a rooftop restaurant within a new neighbourhood of four buildings masterplanned by MVRDV alongside Joubert Architecture.
In line the ambitions of the Bastide-Niel masterplan, the irregularly shaped courtyard building fills the site to its boundaries, resulting in an intimately scaped streets with roofs arranged into carefully calibrated slopes to provide maximum ventilation, daylight, and sun to the building itself and to its neighbours.
The building responds to its surroundings on all sides: on the south-eastern end of the building, sections as low as one storey relate to the low-rise neighbours, while on the north-east, facing the river, it rises as high as nine storeys. At this high point, a glass crown houses a restaurant with views of the river and the historic centre of Bordeaux beyond.
The project’s street-facing façades present a muted, cream-coloured palette, blending in with the surroundings. However, the courtyard-facing façades are finished in a bright red textured stucco. Together with the green courtyard landscape of 83 alder and birch trees and a variety of grasses, this presents a visually exciting environment to complement the liveliness of the park space.
At various locations, large portals through the building connect the interior courtyard to the outside, introducing flashes of colour that draw the attention of passers-by and inspire curiosity about the space inside.